After years of untold hardship faced by residents, business owners, government agencies and commuters around the Oshodi – Apapa Expressway axis due to the traffic jams occasioned by the trailers/trucks coming in from all parts of the country, there is a temporary relief currently in place. This is the result of a collaborative effort by the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government and various stakeholderunions that operate in the oil and gas sector in the embattled axis.
At least, free movement has been facilitated by the presence and hard work of the Police, Army and Lagos State Transport Management Authority (LASTMA) personnel, who ensure that the blockage of the express and the arterial connections to it is minimised, though not eradicated. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government, which bears the major responsibility to end the gridlock, for the fact that the nation’s foremost theatre of non-oil revenue is primarily a federal zone, does not have a kobo set aside in the 2016 budget towards the implementation of a holistic and final decongestion of Apapa vehicular traffic.
We also frown at the idea being mooted in some quarters that the petroleum tank farms, which draw the tankers to Apapa, will be relocated to the Trade Fair Complex axis. This is not an ingenious solution to the problem. We will merely be transferring the woes of Apapa to the Trade Fair zone. While Apapa is the primary point of entry and exit of imports and exports, the Trade Fair axis contains international markets for the distribution of goods to all parts of Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region. The traffic nightmare in that area is already at abreaking point and cannot afford the additional burden of accommodating tank farms. We are, therefore, on the same page with Hon Oghene Egoh, the member of the House of Representatives for the area, who has petitioned the Federal and Lagos State Governments to drop the idea.
The solution to this problem must be all-encompassing and well thought-out Pending when Nigeria will begin to operate refineries in all parts of the country to end importation, we suggest that efforts to pump petroleum products from Atlas Covestraight to Mosimi in Ogun State must be intensified. Tank farms are best located outside the economic bustle of the Lagos metropolis. Rail evacuation should also resume. Tank farms should be located in other coastal and port cities such as Warri, Koko,Port Harcourt, Ibaka and Calabar. It was a hare-brained idea to dump them in Apapa and thus choke the economic and social livelihood of the people there.