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Reps move to end N600bn monthly loss to Apapa gridlock

…as Lagos plans 600-capacity truck park

The House of Representatives on Wednesday took steps to end the monthly loss of N600 billion revenue to the Apapa gridlock/congestion and the dilapidated terminal infrastructure in some terminals.

The House urged the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other relevant government agencies to as a matter of urgency repair the quay wall and apron at Tin Can Island port (RORO terminals) under the concession agreement.

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It also mandated the Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation to immediately convene a stakeholders’ consultative meeting to find a lasting solution to the gridlock and congestion on the Apapa and Tincan Island access roads.

The Green Chamber made these resolutions on Wednesday at plenary when it took the motion sponsored by Benjamin Mzondu (PDP, Benue), Kolade Akinjo (PDP, Ondo), Timehin Adelegbe (APC, Ondo), Sani Mauruf, Abonta Mkem (PDP, Abia), and Olumide Ojerinde (APC, Oyo).

Presenting the motion on behalf of his colleagues, Mzondu said the House noted that the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports were concessioned to private operators under the Federal Government Port Reforms and modernisation policy for efficiency and cost reduction through privatisation by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in 2006.

The move by the House coincides with the announcement by the Lagos State government that it is planning a 600-capacity truck park to decongest the Apapa-Ijora Bridge which is currently occupied by hundreds of petroleum tankers and dry cargo trucks.

The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, disclosed this on Wednesday during a live interview monitored on one of the national television stations in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu did not specify the area where the truck park is to be sited and when it would be ready. He, however, said talks were ongoing between the government and stakeholders to get the facility off the ground.

There had been efforts by previous governments in Lagos to build a truck park at the Orile-Iganmu-White Sand area with the collaboration of some stakeholders in the downstream sector of the oil and gas and maritime sectors of the economy, with no success achieved.

Among the key stakeholders in the previous efforts were Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Depots Association of Petroleum Products Marketers of Nigeria (DAPPMAN), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigerian (MOMAN) and Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO).

The Ambode-led administration had brought in Planet Project Limited, a construction firm which also handled key infrastructural projects in the state, to begin work at the site. According to the government at that time, the proposed park would take about 2,800 trucks and petroleum tankers. But the project was abandoned as Planet Project subsequently mobilised its personnel and equipment out of the site.

The contractor had told BusinessDay that they had to leave site because of the political uncertainty that surrounded the Ambode administration’s last months in office as no official contract agreement was signed between it and the state government to guarantee payment amid the unstable political atmosphere in the state prior to the 2019 general elections.

Apapa and its environs have remained a sad narrative in terms of gridlock and traffic management, as efforts by both federal and the state authorities have led to nothing cheery.

The roads and bridges have remained blocked year after year, forcing businesses to close shop and residents moving out to “saner” areas of the state.

 

JOSHUA BASSEY, Lagos, & JAMES KWEN, Abuja

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