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Apapa gridlock: Fashola raises hope with transportation of fuel by rail under Buhari

By on May 10, 2015

Some rays of hope came yesterday on the perennial gridlock that continues to shut down Apapa, as Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos hinted of plans to transport petroleum products by rail under the incoming Federal Government to be led by Muhammadu Buhari as a way to tackle the problem that over the years had turned Apapa into arguably one of the worst business environments on earth.

With the May 29 swearing in date about 21 days away, Lagosians and stake holders in Apapa cannot wait to see the assurance translated into action that will bring the much desired relief from the excruciating pain and economic losses that the neglect of Apapa has engendered in the last one decade.

Indeed, the assurancefrom the governor is coming amid growing concern from stakeholders inclusive of maritime and transport operators, residents and business owners in and around Apapa who continue to bear the brunt of the daily congestion.

At the centre of the crisis are petroleum tankers and dry cargo trucks which, in their thousands, daily clog the roads and bridges leading to Apapa, thereby making it almost impossible for other road users to access this important area
which hosts two of Nigeria’s biggest and most patronised seaports- Tin Can and Apapa ports.

Within the last three days for example, motorists and commuters making their way to Apapa either through the Mile 2-Tin Can or Surulere-Ijora axis had been held down in traffic jam for an average of six hours daily, while workers whose offices are located in Apapa had been forced against their wish to spend nights at work places.

Fashola who came down with apologies while responding to questions at an event marking his 2,900 days in office as governor, blamed the menace on failure of the outgoing government which said is one reason why Nigerians voted for change in the March 28 presidential election, that saw Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeat incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

“It is a sad story of our nation. I apologise for the inconveniences that the residents of Apapa go through daily due to the traffic jam caused by the tankers who come to that axis to lift fuel. And by extension, the traffic jam has spread to other parts of the state especially on Ikorodu Road.”

“Specifically, Apapa is one of the many reasons people voted for change at the last elections. This was because it was an inappropriate way to transport petroleum products by road.

They must move by rail. And the state government doesn’t control the importation and distribution of petrol in the country. It is a federal responsibility. But the residents of Lagos are the victims of the circumstances that we don’t control.

This is because the Federal Government isn’t doing its job effectively. I hope that we will be able to transport fuel properly over the next few years by rail and more importantly I hope that we will stop the idea where the entire nation will depend on only one source for fuel.

“What we have now in Apapa that is causing pain are about 6, 000 tankers in the axis today trying to lift fuel to supply to every part of the nation. And normally on a day where there isn’t any fuel shortage, you have between 2,000 and 3, 000 tankers coming to Apapa to lift fuel. Now that there is a backlog, essentially, the entire country is waiting for fuel from this axis. And that was why there are 6, 000 tankers in Apapa at the moment, trying to lift fuel.




[Business Day]