Story By Izuchukwu Ozoemena.
After the fanfare that preceded the flag-off of the reconstruction of the access road to the Lagos Ports Complex, Apapa, the project has stalled with no work done for over a month.
Investigations by Business & Maritime West Africa indicate that apart from the heavy presence of earth-moving equipment at the Dangote Yard opposite the Area ‘B’ command of the Nigeria Police and contract staff who report for duty daily, nothing is on ground to show seriousness.
Although no official reason has been given for the stoppage of work, investigations revealed that it may have been caused by the failure to remit money to the construction firm executing the project.
A section of the road leading to Ijora Bridge had been cordoned off and a diversion created to signal to road users the commencement of the reconstruction. For over a month now, nothing tangible has been done on the stretch beyond the initial scooping of red earth.
With the resumption of heavy rains after the August break, flood has taken over the entire corridor, thus returning the road to the horror state it has been for years.
According to a staff of the construction company who preferred to remain anonymous, the workers’ initial zeal has been dampened following the delay in releasing funds for the project. “As obedient workers, work or no work, we have to report for duty daily”, he said. Some work supervisors refused to speak on the development, insisting that they are not permitted to do so.
Three months ago, Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had flagged off the rehabilitation of the Ijora end of the port access road and announced that a section of the Apapa-Wharf Road will be shut down for one year to enable its reconstruction.
The N4.34 billion project is jointly sponsored by Dangote Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria and the Federal Government.
The two kilometres road construction between Apapa Port and Ijora end of the bridge is expected to take one year.
Fashola explained that the use of AG Dangote for the construction was to give the road a better outlook with the use of cement concrete.
While commending the sponsors of the project, the minister appealed to road users and stakeholders to persevere.
“We are embarking on what will be the final solution to the massive inconvenience businesses and residents in Apapa and its environment have had to endure for a couple of years.
“I will like to acknowledge the leadership role of Dangote and Flour Mills who are operators and have also contributed to making this reality. They are doing this as a total corporate responsibility without asking for tax holiday or reduction. We are also working on how to ensure free access to Tin Can Island.
“From today that we are handing over the project; the road will take one year to be completed. We need the cooperation of all the stakeholders. There will be some discomfort on the way but we appeal for tolerance and perseverance. It will continue to get better; people should please endure more to solve the challenge.”