Federal Government has said that it will commence piping of petroleum products from the Lagos port to major depots across the country as part of efforts to decongest the perennial traffic situation in the port city of Apapa in Lagos.
Speaking to Vanguard, Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Maritime matters, Mr Leke Oyewole said that the piping of products from Atlas Cove is a done deal, the government has concluded and working out the modalities.
Oyewole who was reacting to the unabated traffic situation in and around Apapa Port area, said that up to the Mile 2 end of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, the damaged parts of the pipelines are presently undergoing repairs.
He explained that from Atlas Cove, the pipelines linking Ejigbo, Mosimi and Ilorin depots belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), will be restored before the end of the current administration.
He further disclosed that the entire port industry is also being integrated with a view to reducing the number of people that come to the port to take delivery of their cargoes.
“We are attacking the issue of Apapa traffic from various ends.
“Firstly, we are automating the processes and procedures at the Nigerian Ports Authority, we are integrating the entire port system.
“You can do all your business online without coming to the port and we have also connected rail lines to the port for easy evacuation of products out of the ports.
“We are also encouraging the establishment of Inland Container Depots across the country so that people can transport their cargoes by waters,” he added.
He also said that tanker train wagons were being deployed to the port to assist in the evacuation of petroleum products.
On why the road is taking so long to fix,Oywole said that the Federal Ministry of Works was actually in charge of the road saying that “I cannot speak for the ministry or the contractor.”
He blamed the contractor for not starting from the Apapa Port end of the road as against the Oshodi end of the road.
He said: “I am aware that the Ministry of Works catalogued some demands for the construction of the road; what I cannot say is if the demands have been met.
It will be recalled that both the Lagos and Federal governments have tried to find lasting solution to the problem of Apapa road but all to no avail.
Besides, Prof. Sylvester Monye, chairman of the Presidential Monitoring Committee on the Port industry has had several meetings with various stakeholders on how best to solve the Apapa traffic problem.
At the last meeting Monye held with petroleum tanker drivers, it was agreed that tankers will not come to the port area until they are called to load products but the said agreement has failed as these tanker drivers spend days, sometimes weeks on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway waiting to load.
They have turned the gutters to their toilet, a development that may lead to an epidemic outbreak if the excesses of these drivers are not checked.
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