The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has again spoken on how his government would tackle Apapa gridlock. During his campaign, he said the gridlock will take him just 60 days.
Speaking after President Muhammadu Buhari in Abija on Tuesday, he told journalists his plan.
Read full transcription of what he said below:
“The real construction of the road has started, but it’s not at the stage in which we can feel the full impact of it. That’s on one side. The movement of the tanker drivers has also started. There is a lily pond terminal that has been created with NPA and other terminal operators, which I imagined have started doing what we call the call-up system. What I understand by the call up is that it’s a system that needs to be a bit more electronically driven. I think it’s currently run manually but if we can get a software that can enhance it and enforce it, the call-up system can become something that can hold the tanker drivers accountable. If you’re not called on to come unto the port you are not meant to come.”
“But beyond that, is to look at the entire value chain – who are the users and who are the operators in that space? So you have the shipping companies, the port terminal operators, the Nigeria Shippers Council, you have the NPA who are the major anchor tenant there. Then you also have all sort of operators – LASTMA who are supposed to be the arm of Lagos State helping hand, the police who are also supposed to help out with security and one or two others. So all of us need to complement each other.”
“Now I understand that the shipping lines have given an extension for when they need to return the containers. So what we have seen as part of the things that are causing the gridlock beyond the road not being in effective order, is that when you give somebody a one week order to take a container and return it within a week and all the containers have to be returned within that same week after which demurrage would start counting, so everybody would want to enter the same narrow road all at the same time. But if they give them a bit more space, meaning that you don’t all need to rush at the same time to return the containers, that is one.”
“Secondly, it’s also to have what we call holding bays – places where the tankers can park off the road while they are waiting to be called upon. There are so many little places that we have around, so we are cleaning up the place. There is a tanker holding bay that the Federal Ministry of Works has just completed and it has started being used. There is another massive one that Lagos state is also refurbishing towards Iganmu area. So some of these things are things that would be tied up within the next couple of months. But ours is to get a team of LASTMA that are dedicated to Apapa issue – they would resume there, they would work there and we have also complemented with the police to make sure that we have enforcement there.”
“We also need to talk to the drivers there. They have a union. If you don’t have a need to come to Apapa, you don’t have to come now. So culture has to be instilled, the kind of people that drive these trailers need to be talked to and we need to explain to them also that it’s affecting the quality of life of ordinary citizens that need to commute around that whole area. The member of the fourth realm also can help us dimension these problems very well.”
“Sometime next week I am also having a meeting with the shippers’ council, port operators and the shipping lines just so that we all can be on the same page and understand that we are all in this together and we all must find a permanent solution. Like I did mention two-three weeks when I first went there, it’s for us to also have another port. The Apapa port itself has grown beyond where it is now. That is why Lagos State is speaking with investors to see how we can push either the Lekki Port or the Badagary Port as the long term alternative to the Apapa Port because that would be the long term solution in terms of our growth of development as a nation”