Residents, motorists bemoan neglect of Apapa, access roads
Nigerians, particularly residents of Apapa, workers and motorists that ply the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports, are earnestly looking forward to a lasting solution to the deplorable state of the roads. And following the announcement by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that a section would be close for one year to enable its reconstruction, they are even more worried about the consequence for an already bad situation.
The bad state of the roads causes gridlock, avoidable accidents and is affecting economic activities in the area. The Tin Can Island, off Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, especially between Coconut bus stop and Tin can 2nd Gate, depicts the pitiable state of many federal highways, with deep potholes dotting it.
The menace of petroleum tankers and trailers on the road has caused motorists to spend hours to get to their destinations on daily basis, while those in a hurry to meet up with deadlines patronise commercial motorcycle operators, popularly referred to as okada riders, despite the risk involved.
Commercial drivers and many road users now navigate through Olodi-Apapa, Boundary and Ajegunle as alternative to get to Apapa in a bid to avoid the bad spots, while commercial drivers prefer to drop passengers at Coconut bus stop rather than ply the worst part of the road.
One of them, Ndubuisi Omah, who plies the Mile 2-Coconut road daily, said: “The Apapa road is not good. Tankers have blocked the road. At times, tankers fall down and cause accident.
“We don’t normally operate on Apapa road because of the bad spots that spoil my vehicle. We only carry passengers going towards Wilmer and Coconut, so we take one-way from Berger under-bridge when going to Apapa from Oshodi. “We do not have a choice, we must eat, so we have to manage the road, since government has abandoned it. Government should try to repair the road for the benefit of people, because it is making business not to move fine.”
A trailer driver, Wale Ososanya, said: “The condition of Tin Can access road is really bad and affecting everybody. “To get to the port, you have to follow through Ijora, Ojuelegba and Alaka because of this bad road. We cannot pass through the express road. We (tankers drivers) have to pass through service lane, which is very risky.
“Sometimes, we spend hours on the road, at times we sleep on the road. We don’t have another choice, at times we spend three or four days on the road before we get to depot.
“I implore the government to give all the tankers one way to Tin Can Port. They should pity our condition to do the road, so that everyone can move smoothly.”According to a trader, Peter Odunekwu, who works in Apapa, noted: “People avoid going to Apapa because of this bad road. There is no transport here at Tin Can road to Apapa; you have to take a bike to Apapa.
“For the past two years, nothing has been going on this area. Many companies have parked out of Apapa because of bad roads.“The Federal Government should come and rebuild the road, because we have resources in this country and it is the only access road through which we import and export, so it should be put in order before the road gets out of hand, because in this area, we are doing nothing.
According to a businesswoman, Nneka Nwabuna, who works in Apapa road, said it has not been easy. “We have been experiencing traffic congestion a lot this year. There are a lot of containers everywhere, blocking the road. Even the okada riders are very risky. There is no bus to Apapa, except you use a bike.
“I have to use bike because I have to get to work. Sometimes the riders charge N200, but because of the situation, they increased it to N300.“I plead with government to put an end to this bad road, because people are suffering, coupled with the economic situation of the country now, with the stress of going to work and coming back.”
According to one Apapa resident, Tunji Odunuja: “The road is perpetually bad. People that repair the road do it unprofessionally. They construct roads without drainages, and not up to standard. That is a major problem.
“The motorists cannot use the major roads, so they have to use the inner street. Right now, the inner streets are the ones suffering.“You have pot holes everywhere and the roads are becoming deplorable and very bad. Every year, there is so much mapped for maintaining and rehabilitating and you wonder where the money is being spent. We don’t see anything; we just hear on the radio the amount that is been mapped, but we don’t see the work going on.
“We have trucks everywhere because the place is really a commercial place and we have two international ports side by side, Tin Can and Wharf, and the road is not been taken care of. “The construction, as I heard, by Dangote and other companies is going to take one year. Now, the problem is not the length of time, the problem is the quality of the road.
“We hope it is not going to have problem in the next seven months because we have a lot of trailers that ply the road on daily basis. I just hope they do the road well to international standard and if the road is managed properly during the construction, it won’t cause traffic for motorists.”
A commercial driver, Chibuike Onyeneho, said: “You can’t blame the trailers and tankers, if the road is ok, they will find where to park their vehicles. Because of the situation of the road, I had to take the service lane, but am not happy about this because it is risky.
“But there is no way you can go through the road, even the express road. Containers are always falling down, killing people, so we have to follow one way to adjust for those passengers going to work in Apapa and drop them at Coconut bus stop, where they will pick a bike. Sometimes you go through Boundary area.
“We are begging government to come and do the road and they said they have approve the road for the contractors to do, but up till these time, we have not seen anything.”Oluchi Oji, who works in a school on Apapa road, lamented how the road affects her daily activities.“The roads are terrible, especially when it rains. I get to work late and come back late due to the hours I spend on the bad roads, which is really affecting me a lot.
“I urge government to help us do the road. It is not about saying they will do the road, but government should put action in their words, they should repair the roads before the election and shouldn’t overlook the small road.
“We don’t have any suitable road in Apapa; all the road are terrible and bad.”Ifeanyi Obiora, a staff of oil and gas firm in Apapa, complained bitterly. “Everywhere is too bad in Apapa, no good road, containers are always falling down, killing people daily, vehicles are getting spoilt and okada riders are falling passengers inside dirty water.
“Our government does not want to do the road. The masses do not feel okay to work on the road. At times, I will have to work from Mile 2 to Apapa before I get to work.“Transporters do not ply the road again to Apapa as they use to, because of the bad nature. The transport fares are going up, because you have to use a bike to get there and they charge you as much as N400.”
He added: “Last month, we heard they gave all the trailers and motorists seven days to vacate the road, as they want to fix the road, but since the seven days passed, we have not seen anything to indicate that they want to fix the road.
“Government should come and fix the road, so that the masses can feel free and benefit from this country.”A car dealer, Chidera Nwachukwu, lamented: “The Apapa road is not good at all. There is no road to Apapa, even for you to get to Apapa, you have to take a bike and spend N600 going and coming back, while the bus is N100, but because of the bad road, they no longer go to Apapa, so we spend more on bike.
“I plead with government to come and repair the road to reduce the difficulty in getting to Apapa.”A trader selling women’s wear, who craved anonymity, complained bitterly, saying: “Apapa road is very bad. Sometimes, there is no road to take our children to school, because everywhere is occupied. “I also find it difficult to get a vehicle going to market because the trailers with containers block the road for the smaller buses to pass through.”
According to a businesswoman, who also did not want her name in print: “The road is bad. There is no vehicle to Apapa, but for me going to Apapa on daily basis, I have to go through Boundary road and cross the bridge or enter the canoe at Tolu/ Boundary road and then take bike to Apapa.”
For shoe seller, Ebuka Ozuah: “The situation in Apapa is bad. Men and women are suffering a lot; even my business is suffering, because of the bad road.“I am not happy with the bad road and our government. This is the place that money is coming to government, but the road is not giving us joy. “I want them to fix the road.”
According to Yemi Sebanjo, who works in Apapa: “The road is very bad and we are begging the Federal Government to do something about it, especially the Apapa road, because we are losing many things.
“Sometimes containers carrying our goods fall down. Business is not moving well again in Apapa. Sometimes, you will be calling customers to come for business, but they will tell you they cannot come because of the bad road.” For resident, workers, motorists and commuters, the earlier the roads, especially Apapa road, are fixed, the better for life and business.