This article is part of our #FirstWord series to provide context on trending news.
Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has urged the federal government to declare an emergency regarding the roads in the Apapa area of Lagos. According to her, priority must be given to improving the condition of access roads into Apapa ports.
What is wrong with Apapa?
Two words. Heavy traffic.
Roads leading to Apapa are characterised with so much traffic that people would rather walk than drive. The constant standstills are accompanied by vehicles, trucks and tankers that have blocked every part of the express road.
Just as residents are relocating, traders and shop owners within the axis are going out of the business as the location has become a no-go area.
Why so much traffic?
The presence of tank farms, for oil storage in the Apapa axis, is a major contributing factor to the unrelenting traffic in the area. The tank farms attract thousands of trucks and tanker drivers who lift petroleum products to supply to Nigerians. These tankers also do not have parking spaces so they take up all the space on the road instead, causing traffic.
Besides too many trucks and tankers on the road, Apapa has very bad roads. This contributes to the difficulty in traffic management on the roads leading to the port.
How can it be fixed?
The Lagos state government is off to a good start with putting an end to the nightmare that is Apapa. It has resolved not to grant anymore construction permits to tank farms pending the inventory of the already existing ones.
While this is a good start, but it is not enough. The Apapa roads, for example, as suggested by Hadiza Bala Usman need to be fixed too.
Wasiu Anifowoshe, Commissioner for physical planning and urban development, made it clear that the state government has been working with the federal government on the Apapa gridlock. According to him, things are looking up.
Now, we wait.