Experts claim that the nation is losing about N20 billion daily,owing to the state of dilapidation of the Apapa Road,as imports are trapped in the ports for days due to traffic gridlock generated by the bad road.
With Dangote Group taking over the construction from the Federal Government and undertaking the reconstruction of the road into a lasting concrete pavement (as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility), Aliko Dangote,President of Dangote Group yesterday visited the construction area in company of the Managing Director of the AG Dangote Construction Company, Mr Ashif Juma to assess the extent of work done.
It was at this visit that he assured Nigerians that the road will be completed in few months’ time and that Nigerians would be surprised to see the project delivered even before schedule, saying efforts are being redoubled by his company to ensure quality job and timely completion
According to him: by the time the road construction is completed, even some of the advanced countries would not be able to boast of the quality.”
He explained that what actually delayed the take-off of the project was the gas pipeline that had to be relocated to pave the way for unfettered construction work “and having done that, you could see that the work is progressing at a very fast speed.”
The businessman while reacting to the challenges encountered by the site engineers appealed to the authorities to help see to the disturbing issue of multiple check points being mounted by security agencies and which have been creating long queues of trailers and thus affecting free flow of work on the road project.
He also explained that his company has agreed with the federal government to do some palliatives on the Mile2 expressway road to ease the traffic congestion and ensure free flow of vehicular movement.
Dangote stated that the road was very strategic because Apapa and Tin Can Island ports handle about 80 per cent of the cargo that come into Nigeria and the condition of the road has made nonsense of businesses depending on the ports efficient operations.
He also said: “Today there is no linkage road going from South West to the North. You have to go all the way through Ajaokuta, Obajana, lokoja and you have to go by the uncompleted road Obasanjo started 13years ago.it is very embarrassing! We can’t just sit and have a road like that in the heart of trade in Nigeria. More than 60 per cent of our country’s import and exports come through the port and we leave it un-attended. That is why we started on our own. Flour mills said they will join us, but now government changed the design because they want all the cables and pipes underground and to have a more robust solution.”
To help in bringing the cost down, he explained that he forced his company to do it at zero profit. According to him, “We will be spending 2.5billion and also Flour Mills for reconstructing 2km double lane in Apapa on each side making a total of 4km” He further explained that “the biggest job is drainage because that is what is destroying the road. We will make sure this problem is sorted out once and for all. This thing should not be allowed to happen. We started discussion with the government over 1year and we are happy that we have been given the opportunity to finally fix it.”
He said that he more worried about the fate of small businesses and other port users that have imported cargo and whose charges are accumulating every day.
Mr. Juma took Dangote and his team round the construction area and showed him how they have been following the designs handed over to his company.
Similarly, Group Managing Director of Flour Mills, Mr. Paul Gbededo said the three partners have shown how to be good corporate citizens saying by the time the road project is completed it would be one never seen before in the country