By Ebenezer Ishola
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has sent a stern warning to individuals and maritime operators that may want to reverse the progress being recorded along the Apapa corridor. The State Government will resist any attempt from any quarters to bring back the problem, Sanwo-Olu vowed.
The Governor said the electronic Call-Up System launched, last Saturday, in the Apapa seaports was designed to permanently address movement of trailers in and out of the ports, and bring about traffic improvement along the corridor.
Sanwo-Olu shared details of how his administration solved the problem in partnership with the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and other stakeholders in maritime sector. He spoke on Wednesday when he formally handed over newly improved three traffic-prone junctions along the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
The Governor described the progress recorded in Apapa as a “hard-won”, disclosing that it took the State Government more than a year to gather all stakeholders on discussion table to agree on far-reaching approach to permanently address the problem.
He said: “What we are seeing is the beginning of the lasting solution we have brought to Apapa. Our appeal is that, we are not out of the problem completely yet. Our citizens can now see that a journey that took them three hours can, indeed, take between 15 and 20 minutes to commute. Everyone can now see that when we work together, indeed we can solve our problems internally.
“We have taken some troublesome people that are benefiting from the gridlock out of the way. Whatever they were earning illegally has been taken away from them. We know they will want to make an attempt to fight back. We will not stop at anything to ensure that anybody that tries to retract the progress or wants to take us back to gridlock in Apapa will be fought against. We will bring out their names and shame them.”
Sanwo-Olu vowed that any corporate organisation, security operative, NPA or State Government official who may attempt to circumvent the newly instituted traffic procedures around the Apapa seaports would be named and shamed publicly.
The Governor said the State was serious about bringing lasting solution to the Apapa congestion, stressing that the Government could no longer condone careless attitude of truckers clogging the highways with heavy-duty vehicles.
He said part of the State’s efforts was to approach the Federal Government for the unbundling of the inefficient Presidential Taskforce on Apapa gridlock and took over the traffic management in the area. Sanwo-Olu added that State Government also met with stakeholders, including Federal Ministry of Transportation, Maritime operators and seaports unions.
He said: “I commend NPA’s Managing Director and management for working with us on this agenda. My appeal is to other stakeholders in maritime sector who have not signed up on the electronic Call-Up System we have embarked on. I call the big logistics companies, including Sifax, Dangote, Flour Mills, Tunde Folawiyo and others, to come and collaborate with us on this progress.
“Let us have a system that our citizens will be proud of. We will stop at nothing to sustain the progress achieved. Our team will be working round the clock to keep the system working. This is one of our modest efforts to deliver what we promised in solving traffic and transportation challenges. We will not relent in doing anything required to ensure traffic improvement in Apapa.”
Handing over the remodeled junctions for public use, Sanwo-Olu said the delivery of projects was another fulfillment of his campaign pledge.
The junctions reconfigured are Abraham Adesanya Roundabout, Lekki First and Second Roundabouts – all in Eti Osa. They were reconstructed with improved features and signalisation, creating more space for motorists to drive and reduce travel time.
The Governor also inspected the newly constructed Ogombo canal channel, which extends from Abraham Adesanya Junction in Ajah to the State’s Drainage System 18.
The junctions are part of the 60 vulnerable spots identified across the metropolis notorious for vehicular logjam and impediment to free flow of traffic.
In line with his administration’s traffic management agenda, Sanwo-Olu ordered the re-designing and remodeling of the identified traffic-prone spots across the State. Sixteen highways were captured in re-construction and improvement project.
Other areas remodeled in the first phase of road improvement programme are Allen Junction, Ikotun Roundabout, and Maryland Junction.