Succor will soon come to users of Apapa Wharf road as Federal government handed over the troubled road to Dangote Industries Limited and Flour Mills of Nigeria (FMN) for immediate reconstruction with concrete overlay.
After the nation and port users have lost several billions of Naira on the dilapidated road, thenFederal government at the weekend in Lagos signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the two companies to repair the road. The construction of the road will be handled by AGDangote, a subsidiary of Dangote industries limited.
Dangote Group and FMN are funding the project valued at N4.3 billion. AGDangote is handling the construction of the road. They have constructed concrete roads in Ibese, Ogun State and currently working on roads in Obajana.
Speaking at the MOU signing ceremony held at the Conference Hall of Area B Command of the Nigeria Police, Apapa, Honorary Adviser to the President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Engineer Joseph Makoju said the Group is moved by the deplorable state of the road which informed the need to look for like-thinking partners to effect repairs and salvage the road.
According to him, the deplorable state of the road has impacted negatively on businesses, activities and lives of people within the locality. He explained that the state of the road crippled economic activities as people spend whole days in traffic losing precious work hours
Makoju opined that the two kilometer road to the gate of Apapa is vital to the nation’s economy and described it as the national economy’s artery.
He commended the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, who he said put in extra efforts to ensure the handing over of the road for reconstruction as the project has been on ground for over a year. The new road, he said will be concrete based in contrast to laterite base and has a life span of between 30 years to 50 years.
He described the road reconstruction as a higher form of corporate social responsibility as Dangote Group is not asking for tax rebates. According to him, businesses need to engage with host communities through corporate social responsibility projects to ensure sustainability.
He said, “here at Dangote, we have built houses, new towns, hospitals, schools, roads, markets and awarded scholarships in the communities where we have our operations but this is a higher form of corporate social responsibility. This project is a higher form of intervention on a national level, intervening in provision of critical infrastructure.”
However, he tasked government to do more in terms of providing a conducive and enabling business environment for businesses to thrive stressing that If the environment is conducive and right, businesses will thrive and do more in terms of interventions in national infrastructure.
Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola in his remarks at the event said, “We are here to embark on what will be the final solution to a massive inconvenience business and people in Apapa suffered over the years. Apapa is the nation’s first industrial base and was served by a good rail system. Cargo and containers were moved by rail to all parts of the country. The road network was for transport of passengers. The roads were good.
However, we allowed the rails to collapse and choose road for evacuation of containers and cargo. But we are working to stop all these. The minister of transport is taking steps to revive the rails and evacuation of cargo and containers from the ports.”
He disclosed that for several years government adopted palliative measures towards the road while waiting for a final solution and especially thanked Dangote Group and Flour Mills for coming take over the road for repairs. He said, “we must thank Dangote Group and Flour mills for coming to our aid via providing the funding for the repairs. The repairs estimated for a duration of one year is valued at N4.3 billion.”
Explaining why it took government some time before handing over the road for repairs, he said, “The delays in handing over the road for reconstruction was because of the need to put final touches to the road design. Apapa has high water table and any road built here must have proper drainages otherwise it will be experiencing constant flooding.”
He added, “We have done the survey and prepared the bill of quantity. The two kilometer road which will be based on concrete is estimated at N4.3 billion. A concrete base instead of laterite is chosen. Concrete base has a lifespan of between 30 to 50 years and in many developed countries, concrete base is used presently for roads. AG Dangote, a subsidiary of Dangote Group is chosen as the contractor. The construction and funding will be on corporate social responsibilities bases as they will not be seeking for tax reliefs.”
Fashola called on all stakeholders to corporate with the constructing company and traffic controllers because there would be distortions and road diversions. All road users should exercise patience because it will get better, he said.