The Association of Progressive Traders Nigeria (APTN), has called on the federal government to intervene in the deteriorating state of the road infrastructure around the Trade Fair Complex (TFC) in Lagos State and gridlock caused by trucks and articulated vehicles parked along Badagry Expressway.
The APTN stated that the poor state of the highway and the traffic gridlock between Alakija and Barracks Bus Stops on the Badagary Expressway have been causing them low business turnover, high demurrage on goods and imminent business collapse.
They equally lamented that this has caused them daily pain, anguish, frustration as they spend six hours on a five minutes journey to and from the TFC.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, the Chairman, Trade Fair Stakeholders Forum and President of the APTN, Mr. Eric Ilechukwu, said that they remained viable partners to the federal government in the fight to curb unemployment.
Ilechukwu appealed to the federal government and relevant stakeholders to save their business from immediate collapse.
He urged the government to address the issues of traffic gridlock along Badagry Expressway, especially between Alakija and Barracks Bus Stops and also the opening of alternative routes in and out of the TFC.
According to him, “the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment was here some time ago and he promised that the federal government would look into our complaints but we are yet to witness any concrete steps towards addressing the traffic challenges here.
“Coming in and leaving the complex from Alakija end is hellish because of the traffic gridlock caused by the trucks/articulated vehicles parked along the expressway.
“A journey of five to 10 minutes now takes about three to six hours. Moreover, the original plan of the complex has about four alternative routes in and out of the complex. Not one of the routes has been accomplished and functional. Even the one we used our money to build has not been opened/commissioned by the federal government.
“We are like caged and entrapped people, which if not addressed immediately might lead to the collapse of the entire business going on in the complex. You can imagine the negative impact on the economy of Lagos and Nigeria in general in terms of loss of tax revenue and loss of jobs and other collateral issues.”
Ilechukwu said that the APTN bought firefighting equipment for safety of the TFC while maintaining good relationships with security agencies to establish a good business environment.
He said: “The danger posed by these challenges cannot be over emphasised. Last time there was explosion around the complex we thanked God that it happened during the weekend and in the period when there was no business activities otherwise the stampede alone would have caused huge loss of lives because of absence of alternative routes.
“At the moment coming into the complex for business and leaving the complex after business takes you about six hours because of the twin evil of gridlock outside the complex and deplorable network of roads within the complex. When we close business around 5p.m. in the evening, it takes about 70 minutes to drive to the main gate of the complex and e nter the Badagry Expressway. This shouldn’t be happening to us because we pay our taxes to the government. We pay tax when our goods are cleared at the ports. We pay tax also by way of ground rents here and other taxes.”