…As Ambode Shuts Down Climax Bonded Terminal
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday said reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway would commence within the next two weeks as part of the Federal Government’s resolve to finding lasting solution to the chaos in the Apapa axis.
Osinbajo, who spoke at a dialogue with stakeholders on the Apapa traffic congestion in company of the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Managing Director of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, among others, held at the Officers Mess of the Western Naval Command in Apapa, said the Federal Government was already looking into the issue of infrastructural renewal, especially with the state of roads in Apapa axis of the state.
He added that approvals for the reconstruction of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway and other major roads linking the Apapa Tincan Ports and tank farms would be concluded within the next two weeks.
The VP, who also led others to inspect the Apapa axis, said there was no excuse on the part of the Federal Government on the state of affairs in the area, noting that aside the economic implications, it was also an important residential community that must be allowed to thrive.
He said, “We have been working quite hard now to get approval for road construction. Among the roads are the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and Mile 2- Liverpool roundabout are important roads but they have been delayed but I am personally working to ensure that we could get that through and we are trying to look at immediate solutions that can be done and how the process could be expedited to achieve results.
“I can guarantee that we will get all the approvals done. I don’t think that it should take us more than two weeks to get the approval so that we can begin the work. There are so many other bad areas, especially the coconut area in front of Tincan Port, the Leventis to Wharf Road is also another area we are looking at, the rehabilitation of the Creek Road so that we can have a two lane access into the ports and all of those are important roads and all of them are Federal roads, so we have a responsibility to ensure that these things are done.’’
On the situation with Ports across the country and the need to decongest the Apapa Tincan Ports, the Vice President listed insecurity as one of the major issues preventing the Ports in Port Harcourt, Warri, Onne, Calabar and others from operating, however, adding that the Federal Executive Council had recently approved a security arrangement in the Ports to enable them function optimally.
“A few weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council approved a maritime security arrangement for all of those areas and that has already been deployed. So we expect that as soon as the security architecture is laid out, we should be able to use those Ports frequently and that would of course decongest the Apapa Tincan Ports,” Osinbajo said.
Addressing other issues involving the movement of cargo from the Apapa Ports, the Vice President said the Federal Government was in talks with a concessionaire to rehabilitate the narrow gauge rail, which according to him, will aid the quick movement of goods pending the construction of a standard gauge.
“As Mr. President had directed, what I intend to do, is that we should meet as frequently as possible. We have already drawn up some roadmap and a check list of the various things that we need to do in the next couple of weeks to ensure that we are able to ease the situation around here and make it more decent for people to live in this community and work in this axis. It is important for us as a country and commercially also and we are definitely committed to making sure that it works,” Osinbajo said.
Speaking shortly after an on-the-spot assessment in the Agejunle area, Governor Ambode wielded the big stick and ordered the immediate shutting down of Climax Bonded Terminal in Ajegunle, saying that their operation was not only illegal but also causing untold hardship to residents in the area.
Ambode, who was saddened by the situation in the area shortly after an on-the-spot assessment, directed that the terminal and other adjoining areas be closed, while the trucks parked around the terminal be evacuated within the next 24 hours.
He said that there was no record from the State Government showing that the operators of the terminal were authorised to convert the property for such purpose, warning that the State Government would not fold its arms and allow flagrant abuse of its building laws to the detriment and safety of residents.
He said the decision to shut down the place was in furtherance to the need to protect residents from imminent dangers which such building portends, saying that the primary responsibility of the Government was to protect lives and property.
“You guys are causing me a lot of havoc. So, as far as the Lagos State Government is concerned, Ajegunle remains a residential area. I have crosschecked from all the ministries and officials, there is no approval from the Physical Planning for you to use this neighbourhood which is residential as a bonded terminal and then I understand that you are extending to Awodiora.
“I don’t want to do too much problem with your owner, but whoever is the owner would have to come to the Ministry of Physical Planning. I have the duty to protect all the citizens of Lagos State, I will not allow anything you have called Bonded Terminal to reside in a residential area and I need to protect my people,” Ambode said.