By Maduka Nweke,
[email protected] 08034207864
Although the Federal Government is aware of the economic importance of Apapa ports complex, it does appear it feels there is little reason to dissipate energy rehabilitating the roads.
The fact that the Federal Government abandoned the city makes it more worrisome bearing in mind that the state government may not be able to expend the kind of money needed to fix the roads, not to talk of the local government. This has become a matter for politics as successive governments use the road and the Apapa environs as campaign tool.
People plying that route lament the man hours wasted on it especially as the extent of its dilapidation continues to cause untold gridlock. On several occasions when trailers or tankers get stuck in its many ditches, there will be no road safety marshal, traffic warden, police or LASTMA official to help clear the road.
With regard to the prevailing traffic situation on the ports’ access roads, commuters and maritime stakeholders have been advised to patronise water transportation into the area.
Investigations have revealed that water transport businesses have been thriving in the last three weeks as a result of the gridlock on the corridors linking the seaports. Although this alternative means of transportation is thriving, those who have phobia for water transportation still use the road which creating advantage for Okada riders.
Those who spoke to Daily Sun, said that water transport has become the only option for those who have businesses in Apapa since the closure of Wharf Road for the commencement of construction works.
According to Mr. Haruna Odunayo, a frozen fish dealer, “my children do not see me before I leave the house every morning and before I return everyday, they have gone to bed. We only see ourselves on weekends especially on Sundays. I have a car but I don’t use it because that would worsen the situation.”
A top ferry transport operator, Mr. Tobi Mabinton, told Daily Sun that the gridlock along the ports corridors have made stakeholders to patronise water means of transportation, adding that “since the cost remains the same, passengers find using ferries more convenient in commuting to Apapa.”
He said, “it will be advisable for port users and people who have businesses in Apapa to enter the community through the waterways because as we speak, Apapa is a no go area. Against the backdrop of the partial closure of Wharf Road for a year, the best option to access Apapa without stress is through the waterways.”
In the same vein, a banker, Joshua Evakpor, noted that, “over the last two months, I don’t have anything to do with the land mode of transport into Apapa. Water transport has helped immensely and I think since the roads are in bad shape by the day, it is time for Lagosians and port users to have a rethink on how to access Apapa.” He therefore appealed to both the government and private sector to invest in water transportation to boost the potential in the maritime space.
Also, Stephen Madu, an exporter, called on the authorities to create more awareness for investors to explore potential of waterways transportation. He stated that such moves would create massive job opportunities and people will not be subjected to undue stress when construction gets under way.
Shippers, agents and civil servants also affirmed that the partial closure of Wharf Road may not affect movement inward and outward Apapa except trucks laden with goods that will leave the ports via the roads.
Lagos launches Cleaner Lagos Initiative, partners Visionscape
The Lagos State government, in partnership with Visionscape, has unveiled a new programme, Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI), that would see to the environmental cleanliness of the state. At the unveiling, the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who was represented by Dr. Babatunde Adejare, Commissioner for the Environment, disclosed that the ceremony was to mark the inauguration of Phase 1 of Visionscape implementation in Lagos.
Visionscape is an environmental utility group, saddled with the responsibility to take over waste management in the state under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement tagged Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI).
He said that waste management in Lagos had become a big task due to the rising population, hence the need to introduce new operators with advanced technology to manage all types of waste.
Ambode said, “we have always believed in Visionscape and by the grace of God, Lagos is going to be one of the cleanest cities of the world,’’ noting that the desire to improve the sanitation in the state, in line with producing a friendlier environment for residents, had been a long desire that the inauguration of CLI would actualise. He added that to carry out a reform was not easy, stating that the state did not want to leave anything to chance.
On the litigation with Incorporated Trustees of the Association of Waste Managers of Nigeria (AWMN), also known as the Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators, he said the contractual agreement with the operators to manage waste expired in July 2016.
He noted that the case in court should not hinder waste management as the state government was ready to partner the litigants and was working on achieving harmony with them.
He said, “this occasion is to make sure our city is not dirty. There are about 350 PSP operators and we have 25 million Lagosians. Do we want to satisfy 350 to the detriment of 25 million people?’’ he asked.
Ambode who explained that 600 compactors were being sourced from various countries, added that the state plans to have about 5,000 within the next five years, stressing that the existing trans-loading stations would be transformed into organised well-structured waste recycling systems.
Earlier, Mr. Harry Ackerman, the Executive Director, Visionscape, said the company would eliminate dumpsites in residential areas in the first phase of the project. He noted that, “in today’s modern society, environmental issues are at the forefront of all our daily lives and as such when these critical issues are managed professionally and systematically they allow governments to attract additional sustainable investment to assist in the growth of the state’s GDP. Lagos is undeniably a leading destination for investors, entrepreneurs and businesses alike with a diverse talent pool and a strong culture of innovation, and we are truly honoured to be selected to be a part of this journey.
“Our top priority is to ensure that the waste management needs of Lagos are met. We will do this by implementing sustainable long-term solutions that are tailor-made for Lagos. We have also developed sound business models, processes and technologies, which are a central component of our integrated waste management plan.
“We are refurbishing, building and upgrading waste management facilities located in different parts of the state including engineered sanitary landfills, transfer loading stations, material recovery facilities and multiple maintenance depots such as this one we are in right now.”
Head of Corporate Communications, Visionscape, Mrs. Motunrayo Elias, said the organisation has the manpower and equipment to keep Lagos cleaner, adding that the project would create several jobs for residents of the state. She explained that Visionscape would commence Phase 1 of the company’s implementation strategy with ‘Operation Deep Clean’ on July 1.
“Visionscape has made provision to ensure that there would no longer be dumpsites in the state. We have trucks and tricycles to run and collect refuse in every part of Lagos, even the riverine areas, and we run a 24-hour operation,’’ Elias said.
She also said that in a few weeks, the company would roll out an advocacy programme to educate the public on better ways to handle wastes, especially hazardous ones.
Recall that PSP operators had in January filed a suit against the state government and five others, seeking to stop them from managing domestic wastes in the state.