Journalism of Courage

Expedite work on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Leventis Bridge on Apapa-Wharf Road, NPA MD, Bello-Koko tells contractors

….says slow pace of work seriously impacting port operations

Worried by the slow pace of work on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the Leventis Bridge on the Apapa-Wharf Road and its impact on port operations, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has urged the contractors handling the projects to ensure a timeous completion of the roads.

The Managing Director/CEO of NPA, Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, made the call on Wednesday in Lagos while on an inspection tour of Apapa/Tin-Can/ Mile 2 access roads leading to the ports.

He told the contractors — Buildwell Construction and HITECH Construction – to expedite action on the roads and the bridge to ease movement of trucks in and out of the port.

Bello-Koko said the opening of the Leventis Bridge was critical to efficient port operation, noting that the closure of the bridge because of the ongoing construction was already affecting businesses in the area.

According to the NPA boss, the ports have started witnessing a longer waiting time for vessels, longer dwell time of cargo at the port while the cost of transportation has also gone up.

“With the closure of the Leventis Bridge, everything is almost at a standstill. This road is critical to the economy and the nation at large.

“We understand the importance of closing the bridge around Leventis for repair to avoid a collapse but it is seriously impacting port operations,” he told reporters.

Bello-Koko said the current traffic situation was as a result of the use of Funso Williams Avenue-Ikorodu Expressway (Western Avenue) as the major roads for the movement of cargo into Tin-Can and Apapa Ports since 2021.

“This is as a result of the closure of the Cele/Mile 2/ Sunrise end of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway for construction.’’

Bello-Koko, however, said with the commitment he got from HITECH Construction, the first section of the road from Sunrise to Mile 2 would be delivered in the next one month.

“Hopefully in about 30 days it will delivered, that is, by the end of October before continuing with the second section,’’ he said

On the traders who are selling their goods on part of the newly constructed roads, Bello-Koko also appealed to the Lagos State Government to intervene by clearing them off to free up the port access roads.

Responding to the issue of security raised by the contractors which has prevented them from working at night, the NPA MD said: “We have got the commitment of AIG Maritime Security and we plan to also speak with other security agencies to provide adequate security for them to work at night.’’

Mr Robert Turnor, a representative of HITECH Construction, said insecurity has been a challenge to workers and property on the site and has prevented them from working at night.

 

 

Also, speaking, Mr Adewale Adeyanju, President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), noted that the slow pace of work on the road was already taking its toll on the health of both maritime workers and port users.

According to him, this has forced many importers moved their businesses to the ports in neighboring countries.

Expressing worry that a sizable portion of the Tin-Can Island road has been converted to market where traders ply their goods, Adeyanju said their activities had constituted serious security threats to lives and property in the area.

“I hereby call on the government to declare a state of emergency on the roads leading to the ports because Nigeria is losing lots of revenue.’’

 

 

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