Friday, 23 June 2017

FG gives tanker drivers, others 7 days to vacate Apapa roads

FG gives tanker drivers, others 7 days to vacate Apapa roads

THE Federal Government has directed tanker drivers blocking roads in Apapa to vacate within seven days to enable the reconstruction work on Wharf Road to start.

The government also ordered telecommunications service providers and other operators to relocate their service cables on the Right of Way (RoW) of the project for work to begin.

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Godwin Eke, gave the directives during a meeting with stakeholders at the ministry’s office complex in Lagos.

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Stakeholders present at the meeting included representatives of telecommunications service providers, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), transport unions, port operators, shippers unions and AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd, the construction company handling the project.

Eke, after extensive deliberation with stakeholders, directed the tankers to immediately vacate the roads while service providers were to quickly relocate their cables from the RoW.

“We need to do something urgently to ensure smooth running of the project.

“When the project starts, we will not be able to wait for companies to relocate utility services; so I am appealing to all stakeholders to act fast in the interest of us all.

“Leave the roads so that this contractor, AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd, can begin excavation on site,’’ he said.

Eke also scheduled another meeting with the service providers and traffic management agencies for next Wednesday to map out strategies for urgent relocation of their services.

The stakeholders said some of the roads, which included Wharf Road and Creek Road, were already being handled by the ministry, adding that there must be cooperation   for the project to be completed on time.

Some stakeholders accused service providers of frustrating previous projects in Lagos by ignoring calls for relocation of services, thereby causing delays.

They, therefore, agreed that a timeline be set after which service providers who ignore the deadline would bear the consequences of their inaction.

The Managing Director of AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd, Mr Ashif Juma, said that strategies had been put in place to speed up construction work.

Juma explained that the drainage channels were going to be constructed with precast elements which were ready to be moved to site.

“We are ready to begin the drainage works by next week because we are using precast elements and they are ready.

“The road is two kilometres for each lane both in-bound and out-bound lanes.

“We are to rehabilitate and reconstruct the road using concrete to construct rigid pavement that will last between 30 and 50 years.

“This kick off meeting is to begin this process. There are several utility cables which nobody is aware of except the owners come forward to relocate them.

“We will provide ducts and channels to protect the utilities but we need the help of stakeholders,’’ he said.

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Juma explained that the meeting was also important in order to schedule a traffic plan to make the site available for reconstruction.

Retired Brigadier-General Sola Ayo-Vaughan, Chairman, Apapa GRA Residents Association, appealed to all stakeholders to comply with the directives to ease the hardship faced by the residents of Apapa who bear the brunt of gridlock.

“We residents will like to know the routing for traffic diversion,’’ he said.

NAN reported that the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, on Saturday handed over the site to AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd. for reconstruction.

The site was handed over after the minister signed a N4.34 billion Memorandum of Understanding with stakeholders who were to fund the project.

The project is to be funded by AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd, an arm of the Dangote Group, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Flour Mills of Nigeria.

NAN investigation, however, revealed that the contractor had not been  able to move to site because articulated vehicles have blocked the roads leading in and out of the nation’s major ports in Apapa.

In a related development, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has expressed worry that the gridlock being experienced by petroleum tankers and articulated vehicles on Apapa-Wharf Road may result to fuel scarcity.

Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Chairman of the union, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Lagos, on Thursday.

Korodo said since the inauguration of reconstruction of the road, petroleum tanker drivers had been on queue, finding it difficult to gain access to the tank farms to get products.

The chairman said the tank farms within the Apapa Marine Bridge Road received petroleum products from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which was to be distributed by petroleum tankers to different parts of the country.

He, however, said the reconstruction of the road would affect movement of articulated vehicles to the port, adding that it was also taking its toll on tanker drivers as they now find it difficult loading at tank farms in the area.

Korodo called on NNPC to address the lingering issues before it degenerated into fuel scarcity, adding that the delay in getting petroleum products to filling stations would be seen as lack of products.

NAN recalled that Fashola had, on Saturday, signed a N4.34 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dangote Group and other stakeholders for reconstruction of the Apapa-Wharf Road.

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