• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Respite underway as FG flags off Apapa-Oshodi Expressway reconstruction

Respite is now underway for residents, motorists, business owners, port workers and other stakeholders in Apapa, Nigeria’s port city, as the federal government has flagged of the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki-Ojota Expressway which, in the last five to six years, has turned into a “highway to hell”.

The flag-off event which was performed President Muhammad Buhari, represented by Babatunde Fashola, minister for power, works and housing, was initially planned to coincide with the opening of the Trailer Park being constructed along the Expressway. But that did not happen because the park is still largely uncompleted with its shoreline protection almost at foundation level.

The expressway which is a dual carriageway was constructed between 1975 and 1978. It has in each direction three and two lanes in the main carriageway and the service lane respectively. The expressway connects the Eastern part of the country and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at Oworonshoki. It is one of the two major routes to Apapa and Tin Can Island ports which are Nigeria’s busiest seaports.

The reconstruction of the 32-kilometre expressway is being undertaken by the Dangote Group and, according to Fashola, the group is undertaking the project in lieu of taxes it would have paid to the federal government.

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The reconstruction of the expressway which will last for 24 months will be done with concrete and the minister explained that Dangote was chosen to do the work not because he is a cement manufacturer but because “this is a man who has demonstrated faith and belief in Nigeria.

“He has chosen to invest in the country and only four of his companies pay N22 billion as tax to Nigeria every year. It is important to point out too that he is doing this road because it affects his business; his turnaround time has increased from three to seven days on the roads which adds to costs”.

Aliko Dangote, President/CEO, Dangote Group, assured that the reconstruction work would be finished on schedule and on budget which he estimated at N73 billion, adding that on completion, the expressway would be the longest concrete road in West Africa.

“We know how important and strategic this road is and so, we are not going to disappoint Nigerians; this is going to be the first road project that will be finished ahead of scheduled date”, he assured, pointing that the revenue that would be generated from the ports when the reconstruction work was done would more than quadruple.

According to the richest man in Africa, the road on completion would open up the economy, improve ease of doing business at the ports and also increase the country’s ranking in competitiveness index. “We look forward to doing more roads infrastructure projects with the federal government under the infrastructure trust fund”, he assured further, disclosing that AG Dongote, the construction arm of the Dangote Group, would be doing the reconstruction work with Hitech construction company to hasten the completion.