Ever since the relocation of federal capital from Lagos to Abuja, infrastructure development, especially, in the area of road construction and maintenance has been left with the Lagos State government, despite the economic importance to the nation.
Although, much have been written and said about the seeming neglect of Lagos by the successive administrations, including the military, but change in the political firmament of the nation, to wit, where the same political party are at the helms of affairs both at the federal and state level for the first time in the annals of of Nigeria’ history raises hope of new development for Lagos.
“This development notwithstanding, appears that necessary attention is yet to be given to Lagos by President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration,” Barrister Toyo Odunlami explained.
According to him, the recent call by Senator Oluremi Tinubu asking for special status for Lagos should not be seen as a means to get cheap popularity, but rather, it’s just a reminder to what many right thinking Nigeria has been advocated for long.
“Looking at the rot, decay and dilapidation that define the state of roads infrastructure in Apapa and Ikorodu-Ijebu-Ode expressway, with the attendant loss of time and sometimes lives, it’s high time to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Dr Wale Omole, whose office is located at Bombay Road Apapa, noted that government’s neglect of this important axis is unfortunate, stressing that Apapa that hosted Tin Can Island and other important institutions should receive more attention than before.
“Now that Nigeria is earning a large chunk of its revenue through the custom as a result of the downturn in oil sector and in view of the location of Apapa port that is now the cash cow for the Federal Government, it is an abberation that this road should be in the present state,” Omole said.
His suggestion were that government should revive the rail line that linked Apapa to convey good which are at the mercy of tankers arid articulated vehicles.
“Besides, constructing a flyover from Apapa that links Marina would be another option, while the current road should be regularly maintained with drainage facility provided,” he counselled.
On the Ikorodu-Ijebu-Ode axis, it happens that this days, most of East-bound vehicles are plying this route instead of the usual Lagos-Shagamu expressway, thereby, putting pressure on the road.
“This face-me-I-face Ikorodu-Ijebu-Ode road that these East bound vehicles are plying is not good enough. Despite that they put more pressure on it, they constitute danger to us smaller vehicles.”
“We cannot say they should not ply the route, but we want to appeal to the federal government to dualise it. It is Lagos government that has been helping us to do palliative works now and then”, pleaded the leaders in the three communities from Agbowa, Imota and Ito-Ikin, who spoke with Nigerian Tribune last week.
Still, on Apapa, it’s a thing of regret that the major roads in this port city which, before now, was a haven for upper middle class workers, expatriates, high profile and multi-national businesses which elevated Apapa status above its peers in the larger Lagos metropolitan city has become shadow of itself, no thanks to government;s lack of concern.
To many, Apapa has become a wasteland and walking through its major connecting roads including Liverpool, Creek Road, Wharf Road, among others, reveals a degraded environment and collapsed roads infrastructure that have forced many residents and businesses to move to a more better locations.
“For the wrong reason, Apapa has been in the news for the most part of the last two years or more. It has become a metaphor for pains, anguish, stress and suffering because of its crippling, intractable and suffocating gridlock and bad roads that elicit endless questions from all the affected stake holders”, said another resident, Ronald Evans,
Chris Chidozie, a auto dealer in Apapa, who resides iin Festac Town said he takes the pain to drive through Orile-Iganmu via Ijora to connect Apapa every morning, which he describes “Israelites journey”, noting that Mile 2-Tin Can route which is shorter from Festac Town, became a no go area.
“The irony in all these is that while Lagos State government reaps millions of Naira monthly from Apapa through the wharf landing fee law introduced by the previous administration, that put the law on every importer to pays N1,000 on 40ft container, N500 on every 20ft container and N300 on every vehicle imported through the ports, which the government claims is meant for road maintenance.
“Besides, the federal government is also making billions of Naira monthly, infact, Apapa is now where it depends upon for its revenue base.