By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday vowed to fight, name and shame saboteurs trying to frustrate government’s effort to tackle Apapa gridlock.
Sanwo-Olu, who spoke with newsmen at the commissioning of the newly reconfigured Lekki First, Second and Third Abraham Adesanya Roundabouts, warned that government would deal with saboteurs sabotaging its effort.
In his words: “I am facing the camera now, that we will not stop at anything to ensure that anybody who tries to retract and take us back to where we are coming from on the gridlock in Apapa, we will do everything that we have to fight those people.
“We will name and shame them, we will bring out their names, be it a corporate organization, company, police officer, Lagos State officer, be it a union, that will say that solution that we have brought about will not work, they will go and answer to the citizens of Nigeria and Lagos.
“We will bring them to the public court for them to see that we are about seriousness. We cannot condole the recklessness and carelessness that our citizens have gone through.”
The governor said his administration gave a commitment that it would do everything possible to solve the gridlock problem of Apapa.
“Yes, you can say that it is taking us a year because we need to have a concerted effort; we need to work a lot from the background, and you remember that there was a first presidential task force that was there, so we needed to unbundled that and take it up.
“But beyond, that we needed to collaborate with a lot stakeholders on that corridor. NPA, being number one stakeholder that is working with us, federal ministry of transportation, all of the maritime operators, the unions that are in that corridor.
“And what we are seeing is the beginning of a lasting solution that we have brought to Apapa. Our appeal is that we are not out of it completely yet, this is a taste of the pudding they say is in the eating.
“Our citizens have seen that what used to caused two to three hours can indeed take fifteen to twenty minutes for them to commute,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu added that “we have seen that when we work together and we say that the resilient of Lagos, we can solve our problem internally, we have seen that indeed this can happen in our clime and environment.
“Obviously, what we are doing now is that we have taken[ the unscrupulous people who have been benefiting from the gridlock out, we have taken whatever it is they are earning from them and we know they will want to fight back.”
Sanwo-Olu commended the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman for working with the government to salvage the area.
“I want to call most of the big transport logistics companies, I am not calling their names because they have done anything wrong, but I want them to collaborate with us. Cifax, I want to you come because we know you have huge numbers of trailers, Dangote, Flour Mills, Tunde Folawiyo, and others, let us have a system that our citizens will be proud of and that’s the real reason we are in government.
“We will stop at nothing because our guys will be working to ensure there are no surprises on the road. I want to say to our citizens that these are just one of our modest attempt to ensure that what we promised, which is to solve transportation and traffic solutions in Lagos, and we do it well,” he said.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde stated that the support of Mr. Governor had birthed Six major Junctions/Roundabouts Improvement Projects which have been successfully completed, adding that Allen Avenue Roundabout, Maryland Junction and Ikotun Roundabout were already in use.
Oladeinde explained the pre-existing Roundabouts could not cater to the rising volume of vehicles plying the routes during peak hours because it was limited to manual traffic control system which was inadequate considering the Smart City Vision inclusive of a 21st century technology driven traffic control system needed for the fast growing population.
”Since the completion of these Junction/Roundabout Improvement projects, we have noticed significant improvement in traffic management along these corridors, commuters travel time is saved, while the usual traffic gridlocks have reduced considerably.” Oladeinde noted.
The Commissioner assured the Governor that his Ministry will continue to display unrelenting efforts to realize the vision of making the State transport system a model for measuring efficiency in transportation not only in Nigeria, but the West Africa sub-region.
In affirmation, the Managing Director, Planet Projects Limited, Mr. Biodun Otunola while delivering the Lekki 1st and 2nd Junction improvement project brief stated that drainage construction was a major part of the modification to prevent flooding which was responsible for the rapid deterioration of the asphalt
He also disclosed that 30 Traffic lights, 27 street lights, 10km road markings and over 100 traffic Signs were installed to efficiently execute the Junction Improvement on the aforementioned Roundabouts.
In his closing remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Kamar Owodiran Olowoshago, reiterated that the Ministry of Transportation will do its best to ensure that there is an improvement in traffic management which in turn will ensure safe travel time and a significant reduction in traffic induced stress for commuters.
He also assured that government policies and programmes will be implemented in the transport sector to create an enabling environment to attract Private sector participation in the ongoing Multi-Modal Transport System in line with international best standards.