Apapa gridlock: Sanwo-Olu seeks NASS support in developing new ports

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…says completion of Badagry port will stop border smuggling, promote development.

By Moses Adeniyi

The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has called on the National Assembly to support the vision of developing additional sea-ports in the State.

Making the call, the Governor stated that the development of new sea-ports in the State is the best approach to provide a lasting solution in addressing the intense gridlocks around the two major sea-ports in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu added that though the combined efforts of the Federal Government Taskforce and the Lagos team, has proffered some reliefs to Lagosians, it has not brought about a perfect solution to the problem.

The Governor, who addressed this yesterday at the State House, at the occasion of a courtesy call to him by the House of Representatives committee on Port Decongestion, stressed that the lasting solution to ensure effective decongestion for economic development is to build new ports in the State.

Speaking Sanwo-Olu said, “With the cooperation of the Federal Government task force and the Lagos team, Lagosians are a lot relieved right now in terms of the congestion and the traffic we have on bridges leading to the port.

“But more importantly is to look at the solution that we need to reflect on the two ports gateway of this nation, which is the Apapa Port and the Tin-Can Port.”

Relating the intense gridlock, to urbanisation and increasing level of development, Sanwo-Olu said that the need for the new sea-ports is essential for sound economic development in the State and the entire Country in whole.

“It’s clear to us when you get there that the development of the city has actually outgrown that port. The level of yearly tonnage coming out of those two ports has seem to double.

“So what it means is that the capacity that was developed at that time, given the volume of business we were doing from these two ports have actually doubled.

“So it’s not out of place that you are going to see a lot pressure, congestion and a lot of things happening there. But for us as Lagos, our government are also being proactive and I want to pass-on this message that we believe that critically, Lagos also need to have two other ports which certainly serve not only the growing population, but be the economic nerve centre of the Country.” Sanwo-Olu said.

Stressing the importance of new ports in the State he stated further, “It’s a sector that is not only critical to us as Lagos State, but it’s also critical to the economy of this nation.

“If in truth we want to be serious about the development of this economy, I think it is important for us to take proper actions and decisions as to were that economy truly goes.

He further stressed that the State has been engaging in concrete efforts to develop the Lekki and Badagry sea ports.

He added that the completion of the Badagry sea port will be instrumental in putting a stop to border smuggling activities around the Badagry area of the State.

Sanwo-Olu said, “So we’ve put on the table the Lekki sea port which is a deep sea port. I must say to you that we have started also the Badagry port. The Lekki port is on the eastern part of Lagos and the Badagry Port on the western part of Lagos.

“We are still in conversation with the NPA (Nigerian Port Authority) to grant the approval because we added five developers and financiers and partners for the Badagry port and if we can see the construction and development of both the Lekki and the Badagry sea-ports, it will not only free up the congestion that we see at the Tin-Can and Apapa ports, but it will also spread development which would mean that getting out of Lagos will be a lot easier from these two other axis.

“We can reduce all of the illegal border smuggling coming from Badagry once there is a port there. So from the economic point of view, it is critical for us.

“And from the Lekki side port, from that gateway, we can hit the Sagamu-Benni express road and we can begin to get to other parts of the Country very quickly.”

Calling on the Committe for support, he said, “So for us these are some of the solutions and the research, studies, economic viability, everything has been done. It’s to use your good committee to help us advance all of these conversations so that development would spread out in that place and we can begin to see that we are not just reactive we are being very proactive. Because we see that as our country, as our State is growing we need these additional investments and development to also grow with it.

“It’s something that we believe will help us to very quickly decongest the existing ports and see developments also spreading out in other parts of the State.”

He however commended members of the committee and the House of Representatives for taking the initiative, stressing that the State remains committed to promoting a system of business friendly environment in attracting foreign direct investments.

“We are willing to start a new conversation on the new developments coming out of it and also to help with the road infrastructures around the existing ports which we’ve also started, because Lagos in itself now is the centre, and we must continue to bake this place to ensure its ready to more businesses.” He added.

Speaking during the visit, the Chairman,Adhoc Committe of the House of Representatives on Port Decongestion, Yusuf Buba, described the two ports in Lagos as the two major channel of imports and exports into the Country.

He added that the committee was constituted by the 9th Assembly to investigate why “ports in Nigeria are not operating maximally and why the ports are not really healthy.”

He said, “We all know that our seaports are gateways where goods are imported and exported out of the Country, and where our seaports are sick, that means our economy is definitely sick.

“So this committee is in your State today (Monday), to perform its oversight function on the two major ports in Nigeria, the Highland and the Apapa Ports, and from here we will proceed to visit other ports in other States of the Federation.”

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