BusinessDay

Apapa-Ijora Road collapse should worry Lagos government – Motorists, others

…as road diminishes gains of Eto App on Apapa gridlock

For Apapa residents, businesses and motorists, the suffering on Apapa-Ijora Road, which is intensifying by the day, should worry the Lagos State government which is seemingly unconcerned about their woes on that route.

Barely 18 months of respite following the deployment of the Eto App that has substantially cleared 12-year traffic congestion on Apapa roads and bridges, motorists on this same route are back to the trenches with breath-chocking driving experience, especially getting out of the port city.

The phase-3 Apapa-Ijora Road, which has collapsed completely with gaping ditches and deep gullies, has become a death trap where motorists frequently get stuck and fully loaded containers to fall off rickety trailers.

“I am surprised, to say the least, that the Lagos State government has chosen to be a spectator in its own game. Agreed that that road, by sheer designation, is a federal road, it is in Lagos and being used by Lagosians or those who come to do business in Lagos,” an Apapa resident fumed on phone.

The resident, who did not want to be named, lamented that they were now reliving the woes of the gridlock years, meaning that whatever the gains of the Eto App which has cleared the gridlock that made Apapa a place too bad for business or residence, are being rubbished.

“The deployment of the Eto App was a product of the collaborative efforts of the state government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and don’t forget that that success story came after 12 years of excruciating pain for both residents and motorists on this route,” the resident said.

Continuing, the resident noted, “if you ask me, I would say that Lagos government cannot afford to watch the gains of that Eto technology fritter away just because of that failed portion of a road that may not be more than 200 metres.”

Emma Ameke, a worker at the ports, says it does not speak well of the state government not to be more concerned than it has shown, explaining that anybody who uses that road, one way or another, pays something to the state government.

“I want to believe that most of those who use this road as residents, businesses or sundry motorists are tax-paying citizens of this state. It is always easy for states to tell you some roads belong to the federal government, but these roads are not being used by the federal government,” Ameke noted.

Read also: Apapa-Ijora Road: FG, Lagos govt look away as motorists ‘die’ in gullies, ditches

Ameke also noted that motorists spend long hours commuting through that road and that, he said, impacts on productivity which, in turn, affects the state’s economy negatively.

Driving experience on this road is increasingly becoming a nightmare for motorists and it has been made worse by the activities of street urchins who are taking advantage of the situation to attack the motorists, especially at night.

The miscreants destroy people’s vehicles and dispossess them of their valuables, especially money and phones.
Lagosians are, therefore, appealing to the state government to look beyond ownership of the road and rehabilitate it. This has become necessary and urgent given that the alternative exit route from Apapa through Ijora Olopa is difficult because of the problem on Eko Bridge.

Since March 23, 2022 when Akpongbon Bridge was burnt by fire, leading to the closure of Eko Bridge to traffic, getting out of Apapa has become pretty difficult. Motorists leaving the Island to the mainland have been forced to use Carter Bridge which ultimately leads them to Ijora Olopa to connect Eko Bridge.

For that reason, exiting Apapa through Ijora Olopa which is ever congested, leaves motorists with the difficult choices of taking Apapa-Ijora Road which is now a death trap, or the gridlock at Ijora Olopa.

“It is always a tough decision to make. Ijora-Olopa moves at snail’s pace while Apapa-Ijora Road is most of the time at a stand-still. When it moves, if you are not careful, that is if you don’t look well and calculate well, you will fall into a ditch and that automatically makes you an easy prey to the hoodlums,” Emmanuel Ofoegbu, who lives in Okota but has his business in Apapa, said.

Ofoegbu said that for the simple reason that Eko Bridge is closed to traffic with the diversion of traffic to Carter Bridge and the ripple gridlock effect on Apapa, Oyingbo and other adjoining areas, government should have done something about Apapa-Ijora Road, even if it is just a palliative measure.

Unless the Lagos government intervenes, the suffering on the Apapa-Ijora Road will not end any time soon as the federal government says the rehabilitation work on Akpongbon Bridge will take the next five-six months to complete.

Forosola Oloyede, the Acting Controller of Works in Lagos, told this reporter recently that they have the next six months to complete the repair work on the bridge. “We want to do it well and to do it well, it has to take time, up to the next six months,” she said in a telephone interview.

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