Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, on Monday, has said N4billion will be spend to fix Apapa roads.
She said the deplorable state of Apapa roads is hampering access to the Lagos seaports and affecting businesses around the area.
Her revelation coincided with the withdrawal of services by members of the Amalgamation of Trucking Associations with Other Stakeholders in Maritime Industry (ATAOSMI).
The association raised a task force team which picketed the terminals to instill order among its members.
On Sunday, the operators threatened to withdraw their services from yesterday in Lagos to make the Federal Government fix the access roads.
The action, meant to paralyse activities at ports and bonded terminals, reduced human and vehicular traffic on the ever-busy Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
At the TICT terminal gate at Tin-can Second Gate, the task force apprehended violators of the directive. At the SDV terminal, the story was the same with pockets of vehicles impounded.
Commenting on the action, Mr Remi Ogungbemi, Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMTO), said it was long overdue.
Ogungbemi said: “A notice of withdrawal of service was signed by the Chairman of the Amalgamation, Mr Victor Nnyosum, and sent to stakeholders in Apapa.
“We are not in any way embarking on illegality as all loopholes have been blocked before now.”
According to him, the body resolved to withdraw service following the deterioration of the Tin Can/Apapa roads.
He said that the roads had claimed lives, damaged trucks, goods on transit and responsible for high cost of doing business at the ports.
He noted that the action would be indefinite until the roads were fully rehabilitated.
The NPA met with the stakeholders in Lagos to bring the situation under control.
The National Publicity Secretary of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr Kayode Farinto, confirmed that ANLCA fully supported the strike.
The Minister of Power, Works & Housing, Rotimi Amaechi, said in 2015 that Apapa road rehabilitation was not in the 2015 budget and promised to include it in last year’s budget.
NPA, Ms Usman said, spoke when top management team of the authority visited the Lagos Port Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports to assess the impact of the deplorable condition of the road that has for long crippled business activities at the ports.
The NPA team embarked on the inspection tour of the failed sections of the roads at Tin Can Island and Coconut axis of the Apapa/Oshodi Expressway, following the strike action embarked upon by clearing agents and truck owners over the deplorable port access roads that is affecting their business.
She lamented that the poor access roads to the seaports were adversely affecting the delivery of cargoes to importers, thus killing the trade facilitation programme of the government.
The NPA, she said, was not happy that several measures, hitherto adopted had not translated into quick cargo movement in and out of the ports.
She assured the protesting agents and other stakeholders that NPA would soon address the problem in the interest of all and the economy.
Ms. Usman said the quick rehabilitation of the road remained a priority to her team to reposition the ports and salvage the economy.
She said the NPA is collaborating with Dangote Group and Flour Mills to reduce the gridlock in Apapa.
Her words: “The roads are under the purview of the Federal Ministry of Powers, Works and Housing. We have held several meetings with the ministry and we have come to an agreement that the NPA will jointly fund the reconstruction of these roads.
“The ministry will be submitting to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting tomorrow, to seek council’s approval to embark on the reconstruction of wharf road.
“We believe that these roads are priority to us. So, we have identified budgetary heads for them and we are going to budgets for them inspite of the fact that they are not under our purview. So, we are commencing with that. The NPA will provide funding for that road in conjunction with the two bodies.”
She assured that the reconstruction work would be carried out within 10 months.
According to her, the width of the roads would be 12 metres with full utilities deployed and will have a life span of 30 years when completed.
“It is going to be a concrete road that will have a lifespan of 30 years. The project we commence within this month. We are going to sign an agreement with the Federal Ministry of Works, Dangote and Flour mills on the implementation of the project and they have confirmed that the reconstruction will be embarked upon for 10 months period so we believe that this wharf road will be able to reach conclusion within this year”, Ms Usman said.