Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, wednesday revisited the perennial traffic congestion undermining socio-economic activities in Apapa and its environs, noting that the gridlock could drastically reduce federal allocations if not promptly addressed.
Ambode also lamented that there were 68 tank farms located within Apapa Central Business District alone, noting that such facilities should no longer be located within Lagos metropolis due to the danger they could cause human lives and the environment.
Ambode expressed these concerns yesterday at the 12th quarterly town hall meeting held at Iberekodo, a community in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area (LGA), where he challenged the federal government “to bring about permanent solution to the perennial traffic congestion in Apapa.”
The meeting was attended by the state Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule; the state Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tunde Balogun; Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, and the Senator representing Lagos East senatorial district, Gbenga Ashafa, among others.
At the meeting, Ambode recalled the recent public disorder, which the state witnessed in Apapa and its environs, saying what happened in the area was beyond traffic issues, which required concerted efforts to resolve.
Specifically, Ambode said the issue of tankers queuing up “to lift petroleum products from tank farms in Apapa is a major issue causing gridlock and damaging road infrastructure in the area.”
He, therefore, observed that Apapa’s traffic congestion crisis “is more than traffic issues.
According to him, “Apapa is where all states depend on for revenue through the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) because the revenue is shared at Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).
“If anything goes wrong in the ports, whatever other states get from the FAAC can reduce drastically if we collectively fail to work out permanent solution to perennial traffic congestion in Apapa and its environs.”
He argued that Apapa’s traffic congestion is a national issue that required urgent attention, noting that oil pipelines should be revived to discourage the trend of thousands of trucks coming from other parts of the country to lift petroleum products from Apapa.
He said: “It is bad that we still use truck to lift petroleum products from Apapa to other parts of the country. As it is now, other ports in Nigeria must begin to work immediately in order to decongest gridlock in Lagos.
“Whatever has led to continual use of trucks to lift petroleum products, which is pipeline vandalism, should be addressed immediately. We believe that this will allow the roads to become freer and more durable.
“We do not need to continuously use tax payers’ money to build road that were destroyed by tankers. We call on the Minister of Petroleum and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to work towards reviving the pipelines.”
Ambode also expressed concern about the approval for the development of tank farms in Ijegun, noting that such should be located in areas that “are not populated as much as the state supports redistribution of tank farms.”
He noted that there was no need “to site tank farms within Lagos metropolis anymore. There are 68 tank farms in Apapa alone. That is a serious danger waiting to happen. Beyond Apapa, they have approved tank farms in Ijegun axis and that is where we have huge population.
The governor, therefore, proposed the urgent need “to redistribute tank farm establishment to outer borders and other parts of the country. This is what we believe should be done at this moment to free Lagos roads.”
He, also, tasked the federal government “to do everything within its powers to revive existing ports in other states of the federation as a permanent solution to the perennial traffic congestion in Apapa and its axis.
Beyond revamping other ports, Ambode said the issue of tankers queuing up “to lift petroleum products from tank farms in Apapa is a major issue causing gridlock and damaging road infrastructure in the area.
“This is inimical to the economic growth of not just the state but Nigeria in general. It will be very unfair to Lagosians if I do not talk about issues relating to traffic management and integrated transport management most especially what we have witnessed in the last one week in Apapa.
“Again, I will like to tell Lagos residents that we are already working with every stakeholder that is relevant to resolving the Apapa crisis. We can see that there is a major improvement. This issue has become perennial. In the last six years, it is always been there. It comes and goes, but the challenge is to be able to find a permanent solution.”
He pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari had already directed the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo “to come and see what the situation is and to actually give us a permanent solution. We are grateful President Buhari. We believe strongly that every layer of government should collaborate to be able to resolve this Apapa crisis.”
He disclosed that the federal government would begin reconstruction of the dilapidated Apapa-Oshodi expressway begins in two weeks time.
Ambode also announced the commencement of recruitment of 1,000 teachers in the state, adding that more would be recruited as the need arises.