Story By Roland Ekama.
Emergency repairs of port access roads have started albeit in stuttering manner as the heavens are increasingly sending more rains that may completely severe the ports from the rest of the country.
At the Apapa-Mile Two axis, work is yet to start despite the promise last week by Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), that the rehabilitation of the road would start after the forced closure of the ports due to a strike by truck operators and freight forwarders.
With the rains already on and intensifying rapidly, port users, mainly truck owners and freight forwarders are concerned that the axis may soon become impassable. Rehabilitation work has started on the Wharf Road axis, there is apprehension that even that may not have much impact as the onset of heavy rain may wash off the road where only sand and gravel have been used to fill parts of the acutely washed sections of the road.
Some leaders of the professional groups at the ports said if there is no visible improvement in the rehabilitation exercise at the end of the 21-day ultimatum issued prior to the suspension of the earlier strike after just two days, they may resume the withdrawal of services.
Investigations conducted by Business and Maritime West Africa revealed that at the Apapa Oshodi route to Tin Can Island port, no palliatives measure is in place and no machinery has been deployed.
However, our correspondent confirmed the presence of engineers from Dangote Construction Company along the Wharf Road as machines had been deployed to drain the puddles of water on the failed sections of the road.
Reacting to the current state of the roads, vice chairman, Dry Cargo Section, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Inuwa Abdullahi, called on NPA to commence the proposed palliatives in time before the rains intensify.
"I will advise the NPA that the earlier they start the palliative measures fully the better it will be for everybody because once the rains intensify, it will end up being a waste of resources when they eventually move to site", Abdullahi said.
"The seaports generate huge revenue for the government and there is the urgent need to take it as a priority for once", he added.