Steve Agbota, [email protected]
Apapa Port City, Nigeria’s premier port complex and international gateway to the economy is now a stinking heapof refuse and indeed in a state of decay.
Its loathsome infrastructural degradation, including failed road networks, disused rail lines, abandoned houses and businesses leave those who had seen the exclusive residential areas of the port city before its current state.
Apapa was an exclusive and preferred home for white colonialists due to its natural harbors and beautiful waterfronts.
But today avisitor to the place will be greeted with shock and regrets on how official negligence had ruined the port city.
Today in place of its glorious past, distraught residents, traders and trailer drivers have turned nearly all access roads leading to Tin Can Island ports complex and Apapa Wharf into refuse dumpsites.
But apart from the total collapse of the roads and other infrastructures in the city, the whole environment has become so dirty and full of refuse and faeces, that medical experts are now concerned an epidemic might break out any moment in the area.
The situation has become so worrisome for port users as the refuse heaps are affecting port operations with negative effects on the nation’s economy, with free movement of people and articulated vehicles in and out of the port hampered due to bad roads.
From Sunrise Busstop to Coconut axis through Mile II access way to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports have been taken over by refuse.
Few days ago, the Tin Can Island first gate portion of the road got flooded after a heavy downpour, because the access road had been converted to dumpsite thereby blocking the road to the nation’s seaports.
The health hazard arises from the fact that from Tin Can First Gate to Second Gate down to Liverpool road, food vendors and other street traders are selling food, alcohol and other consummables in tents around the refuse mounds and selling food, to customers with most consumers not consider the health implications.
The situation has become such an embarrassment and shameful that government would abandon the nation’s port access roads to go from bad to worse refuse heaps, generated by people doing business outside of the port corridor.
Daily Sun, learnt that the Lagos Waste Management Authority ( LAWMA), which often comes around to pick the refuse can no longer get access to some of the roads due to the horrendous gridlock around the port environment.
An auto dealer, Ezeogwu Mike, who spoke with Daily Sun, said that it is shameful that the nation’s ports have been abandoned by the successive governments to decay.
He said the port which is the second highest revenue earner for the government has been left in a sorry state.
“Today, Lagos port is regarded as the dirtiest port in the whole West Africa if not in the world. I have been to other ports in the neighboring countries and saw how things are being done. The ports are well taking care of. Ghana is now investing massively in its ports and before you know it, they will become port of destination for ships and cargoes.
“When the access roads were motorable, Berger Auto Market was always full of customers from different states to buy cars. Then we used to sell up to 50 to 100 cars per day.
Today, we hardly sell two to three cars in day because nobody come here again. Even when they come, refuse heaps are still enough problem to pursue them apart from the bad roads and the gridlock. Government is making money from this auto market but they don’t care what we are passing through. This market is the biggest auto mart in the West Africa and ought to be the pride of the nation. But see what has become of the market today,” he lamented.
The situation is also compounded by the ongoing road construction, which contributed its own heaps of rubbles on certain portions of the road. The road workers also lamented that the heaps of refuse affecting the construction of the road as there is no way to evacuate the refuse and rubbles.
Speaking with Daily Sun, the President of National Council of Managing Director of Licenced Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero said, “Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should liase with Apapa Local Government because that area is a port area. When you look at the provision, there is Apapa Local Government and there is NPA.
NPA should take care of the refuse in the ports. When other agencies at the port are not taking care of the refuse, NPA is the agency that should go there as a national body to interface with others to make sure these things are taking care of.“
According to him, Lagos State Government is collecting Wharf Land rate at Apapa ports and Apapa Local Government is making so much money from the ports, saying there is need for port authority to approach Apapa Local Government and make sure they take care of those areas because it is a health hazard for them keep dustbin (refuse) in that site.
He added: “If the refuse is not taken care of, it is going to affect port operations, and health of people will be compromised.
NPA has to liase with other relevant Federal Government agencies to do those jobs.
“They need to go as far as Presidency to inform them what is happening in the port. Port is a place where people are coming in and going out around the world, goods are coming in and going out and all the rest, the place must be kept healthy and it must be kept navigable.”
Reacting on the development, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA, Jatto Adams, said since the refuse is not within the port environment, it is the responsibility of the Local Government to care of it, not the NPA.
He said: “Roads like Creek Road, Liverpool, and Burma roads and the rest are exclusively responsibility of the Local Government. But when the whole place is filled up, NPA do assist them to pack the refuse. Therefore, it is not the responsibility of NPA but that of Local Government.”