Amaechi says Ibadan will inherit Apapa traffic gridlock if…

Oyo will accept gridlock of commerce - Ajimobi

The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi on Tuesday warned that if adequate transport infrastructures are not put in place to complement the Ibadan Inland Dryport and the commencement of commercial activities on Lagos-Ibadan rail, the Oyo State capital will inherit the infamous Apapa traffic gridlock which had rendered vehicular movements in Apapa, Lagos comatose for months.

Speaking at the Oyo State Government House in Ibadan during the Exchange of Letters for the Ibadan Inland Dryport between the Oyo State Government and the Federal Ministry of Transportation/Nigerian Shippers Council, Rotimi Amaechi thanked the host communities for their support towards the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project.

According to Amaechi, “I want to appreciate the host communities for their support towards the Lagos-Ibadan rail project. Even when schools were demolished, they gave us time to rebuild.

“The money we would have spent in appeasing the host communities, we spent on expanding the rail overpass and underpass.

“Let me also congratulate the Oyo State Governor for finishing very strongly. I have spoken to people about the Governor, and they concede he focused on infrastructure.

“When I asked why they didn’t vote for APC, they told me that after giving him a rare second term in office, they won’t allow him to impose somebody on them.”

On the readiness of Oyo State for the Lagos-Ibadan rail project and the Inland Dryport, Amaechi warned that if care is not taken, Ibadan will inherit the traffic gridlock popularly referred to as ‘Apapa traffic gridlock’.

“There are two things I have noticed that the Oyo State Government is not preparing for, and I will like to call the attention of your successor to these things.

“The moment we complete the Lagos-Ibadan rail tracks and commercial activities start, Apapa traffic gridlock will disappear and we will now have Ibadan traffic gridlock. Until we are able to do Ibadan to Kano, there are the chances that the traffic gridlock will transfer to Ibadan. The consequence is that there will be traffic madness in Ibadan.

“However, the good side of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project is that it will create employment and transform the economy of Oyo State.

“So the question is ‘how prepared is Oyo State for commercial standard gauge rail activities? To avoid the impending traffic madness that is upon Ibadan, I will suggest that the State Government should tar the road at the point where we have the Inland Dryport. That road is not tarred, and if well worked on, can reduce the traffic gridlock that is coming soon because the standard gauge train will bring all northern bound cargoes from the ports in Lagos to Ibadan for onward distribution to their various destinations,” the Honourable Minister of Transportation added.

In his welcome speech, the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi welcomed the impending gridlock’, stating that Oyo State will rather welcome traffic gridlock of commerce than welcome traffic gridlock of hunger and poverty.

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In his words, “in 2007, there was this Federal Government concession for six inland dryports, and Oyo State Erunmu happens to be one of them. Today, we are witnessing that milestone of exchanging necessary documentation that hands over that land to the Federal Government. We wish to express our profound gratitude to the Federal Government for bringing to us this economic booster.

“Concerning the traffic gridlock that the Minister of Transportation talked about, we will rather have a gridlock of commerce, progress and development than have a gridlock of hunger and thuggery.”

In his presentation, the Executive Secretary of the NSC Hassan Bello revealed that the proposed Inland dry port project in Ibadan will reach commercial and financial close before the end of August 2017.

“The procurement process of the project has already commenced while the request for qualification had been advertised and bids opened and evaluated.

“The next stage of the project would be the issuance of Request For Proposal (RFP) and afterwards negotiations will be conducted. Transaction Adviser for the project has already been procured,” the NSC boss stated.

Bello while thanking the Oyo State Government for the land said the facility when fully operational will enhance the nation’s cargo handling and processing capacity with an additional handling capacity for 40,000 TEUs per annum.

This, he said will bring about massive employment for the indigenes of Oyo State as well as ensuring wealth creation for the nation.

Highlighting the benefits of the IDP project, Bello said, “the proposed IDP facility shall comprise of a container Freight station with an adjacent stuffing and stripping area that also serves as customs inspection zone, a loading /unloading area for trucks carrying Less than Container Load (LCL) cargo, an equipment parking area dedicated for maintenance and repair activities, and a container interchange including a truck parking area outside of the IDP boundary.

“Furthermore the proposed Ibadan IDP shall provide all container handling and storage services that a port typically offers. It shall be equipped with modern reach stackers and tractor-trailer units for container handling and horizontal transport and will be connected to the national road and rail network.”

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