The blockade of access roads in Lagos, Nigeria’s major commercial city continues unabated, as the Mile 2 axis of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway was for a better part of Thursday, locked down. This caused total traffic gridlock on the road.
Motorists were seen diverting to various routes alternative to the expressway, but the alternatives were no better, as several vehicles got trapped within the Jakande estates, around Amuwo-Odofin and Mile 2.
In their bid to escape the chaos, drivers were again seen making efforts to reconnect the expressway, where the traffic gridlock had stretched beyond Ijesha on the Mile 2-bound lane.
The Lagos economy is said to be losing about N42 billion monthly to traffic gridlocks, compounded by poor road networks and over 2,000 petroleum tankers and container laden trucks entering the state daily and making their way to Apapa, where the nation’s premier port is located.
Efforts by the state government to address the traffic menace have yielded but little results, as major roads including Apapa-Oshodi, Western Avenue, Eko Bridge inward Ijora-Olopa and part of Lagos-Badagry expressway remained blocked by thousands of articulated trucks.
Igwe Achese, president of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), a body to which the tanker drivers is affiliated, says the traffic menace in Lagos will persist unless the Federal Government finds a workable alternative to the trucking of petroleum products.
Some sections of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway have been left in a state of disrepair for many years with the federal authorities only making promises without concrete steps to fix the road.
Recently, business owners under the aegis of Committee of Directors (COD) Ibru Complex, Ibafon, Apapa, made up mainly of tank farm owners operating at the Ibru Jetty, including Ibeto, Sahara Energy, African Terminals Eterna Total, Gulf Treasures Ascon, Leighton and Ibru Fisheries, Imad Oil and Gas, SPG, Capital oil and Gas Blue Marine, pooled resources to fix the failed section of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, from Sunrise bus stop to Coconut bus-stop, but that effort was frustrated by the continued parking of trucks on the road.
Oskar Ibru, chairman of COD, Ibru Port Complex, had subsequently appealed to the Federal and the Lagos State governments to immediately take steps to rehabilitate the failed sections of the expressway and curtail the menace of the trucks.
“The drivers and their motor boys use any available drains or space on these roads as toilets and places to wash and dump refuse. The nuisance value and its effects on the residents and commuters are obviously severe,” Ibru said.
Achese, in an interview monitored on Silver Bird Television on Thursday, regretted the resort to trucking petroleum products as against piping them to major depots across the country. He listed past hostilities in the Niger Delta region leading to the bombing of oil installations, ruptured pipelines and the collapse of the nation’s refineries which now make Nigeria dependent on imported products, as issues that require urgent intervention by the government.
According to Achese, to free the roads, the Federal Government must ensure that the pipeline and the rail option work effectively. He added that the union would also be ready to partner Lagos state on the development of a parking lot for tankers.
Credit: Business Day