Businesses suffer losses on worsening Ijora-Apapa road

Businesses, including truck owners and importers, have been suffering losses as the failed portions of the Ijora-Apapa-Wharf Road, the only open access into Apapa and Tin-Can Ports, have worsened, taking a toll on their operations.

According to them, the road, which became the only access for users of Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports due to the protracted construction work on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, has been left in a dilapidated state for months.

BusinessDay observed that motorists and truckers on the outbound lane usually get trapped at the portholes on the road after descending from Ijora-7up while those on the inbound lane get stuck after descending from Eko Bridge, exactly under Iganmu Bridge.

The inbound lane into Apapa has been left in a sorry state for over a year. The potholes on both lanes have already made the expressway to Western Avenue impassable, leaving all motorists to make use of the service lane, which has also become a death-trap housing street robbers who attack commuters during traffic peak periods.

Bala Mohammed, a trucker, said both inbound and outbound lanes of that Ijora-Apapa-Wharf Road by Iganmu Bridge have been in a very terrible state for several months now.

To him, the government needs to treat the failed portions of the road as a national emergency because it has been taking a serious toll on the economy, particularly the income of truckers and importers.

On a regular basis, he said, containers have fallen and spilled their contents as a result of which many importers and truckers have incurred serious financial loss.

“Secondly, those portions of the road have also become an ambush point for container buglers because anytime a truck approaches that point, the driver must slow down and buglers use the opportunity to cut the container and remove the contents they could lay their hands on. Due to this, many innocent truck drivers have been sent to jail by the importers of such containers while many end up paying the importer, thereby incurring a loss,” Mohammed said on the phone.

He said the failed portions of Ijora-Apapa-Wharf Road have also become an ambush point for those hijacking trucks from drivers.

He said that such people take those trucks carrying containers to unknown locations where the goods are sold, leaving both importers and truckers in serious problems.

Read also: Gaping Apapa potholes hurt businesses despite N2.3tn Customs revenue

Kelvin Osita, a clearing agent, who does regular business in Apapa Port, said the failed portions of Ijora-Apapa-Wharf Road had been putting pressure on freight forwarding business.

According to him, an agent that has goods to deliver to his principal is never at rest until the goods arrive safely at the importer’s warehouse.

“The road situation in Apapa has become a nightmare such that my principal lost hundreds of thousands of naira to payment of demurrage to shipping company after the container was cleared within 14 days but was trapped at that road for another three days when the truck broke down at that part of the road. I also lost money because the importer refused to pay the balance of my fee as a way to make up for his loss,” Osita said.

Brown Thompson, a civil servant, who works in Apapa, told our correspondent that the failed portions of Ijora-Apapa-Wharf Road have become a point where traffic robbers attack motorists and commuters.

“Due to the bad state of the road, motorists approaching those portholes at Ijora must slow down either because of the holes or due to long queues of traffic gridlock, and traffic robbers attack them mostly at night, collecting people’s valuables at gunpoint,” Thompson said.

This, he said, was why people driving to Apapa try to leave the port environment by 5 pm at least to avoid the street urchins and traffic robbers that attack people at night.

On the way forward, Mohammed said the poor state of the road had become a national disaster that federal and state governments need to pay urgent attention to.

“We are using this medium to call on the government to come to the rescue of truckers and importers as well as the Nigerian economy because it is very ridiculous that people will spend several months to clear goods that are meant for the nation’s economy only to lose them to the damage on the road,” he said.

“We call on the Federal Ministry of Works and Ministry of Transportation to mobilse the necessary human and material resources towards fixing the road. It is a national shame that a road leading to the port that is generating billions of naira in revenue to the Federal Government is abandoned,” he added.

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