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Nigeria Falling Apart under FG, Says Fashola

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Disappointed with what he described as the consistent degeneration of Apapa and its environs, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday lamented that everything in the country “is already falling into pieces under a federal government” headed by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The governor expressed profound disappointment at the federal government’s poor response to the hydra-headed challenges of the traffic gridlock and environmental abuse in Apapa, shortly after the Nigerian Navy deployed its personnel to begin a 24-hour operation in the area.

Fashola, who was accompanied by members of the state executive council, spoke during a visit to Apapa and its environs, lamenting that about 90 per cent of petroleum products used in the country “are distributed through Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports.”

Clearly frustrated with the situation, especially a neighbourhood that boasts of three of the nation’s major seaports and fuel depots, Fashola expressed doubt over the capacity of a federal government under Jonathan “to manage the consequences of this mismanagement,” stating that the long-term solution to Apapa’s challenges was that the government must be changed.

He said: “It is a shame. We can only try to manage some of the consequences of this mismanagement in Apapa and its environs. What we are doing is temporary, but the long-term solution is that this government must be changed. That is the solution. As long as we continue with this federal government, things will not get better.

“I just wonder why everything is falling to pieces under this federal government. Everything about this country is falling to pieces. Apapa has not been spared. The ports cannot be managed. The fuel distribution cannot be managed without causing so much pain.”

He cited the collapse of the road networks in Apapa and outright infrastructure deficit, wondering why everything “started falling apart under the federal government. We moved fuel in the past from the Apapa ports, but Apapa was not in this way.

“We operated the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports, and they were not in this present state then. One will only try to create order from the mismanagement that the federal government has created. We will continue to work with the transporters.”

The governor explained that all the roads that connected Apapa from different parts of the state are federal roads, adding, “the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, for instance, leads to the ports. Passing through the road makes one’s heart bleed. It is like one is not in a city.

“By mismanaging the fuel distribution from the ports, the federal government has just paralysed the Apapa industrial estate. It is a pity because if the federal government cared about what is happening to the people of Lagos, we will get more attention and response.

“It is truly tragic that the distribution of daily goods and fuel which many countries have solved has become a big problem for Nigeria. We must choose between our life and fear. Yet, we have a federal government that is supposed to be in charge.”

He said the federal government should rise up and show that it cares about the people of the state because the degeneration of Apapa had been going on for too long and might reach breaking point where there may be no fuel.
He, however, promised that the state government would look into availability of alternative land, which the tankers drivers raised during an interactive session with member of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) at Sunrise and Creek Road in Apapa yesterday.

The governor explained that the state government would keep operatives of Lagos Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Lagos Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences in Apapa in place to manage traffic congestion and environmental abuse.

According to him, “We need to do business with a conscience and to think about people who live here and are not gaining any money from this. These are ports where huge funds are generated but Lagos State does not get any derivation from the federal government.”

In a true federal system, he said, Lagos would be entitled to derivation, noting, “Oil producing states are getting derivation, but we are feeling the pains. Our land is destroyed while trying to use it to distribute fuel. We are abandoned. We are an orphan in this federation.

“Businesses are shutting down in Apapa and people are living a very traumatic life. The entire roads have collapsed due to the movement of heavy tonnage.

“We have managed to create some order on the road, but the entrance to the port is where the problem lies and is still a challenges. So it is lack of management on the part of those managing the port. It is obvious where the problem is emanating from.”

Despite the governor’s angst, the Nigerian Navy, led by a Commanding Officer from NNS Beecroft in Apapa, Commodore Ovenseri Uwadiae, kicked off “Operation Decongest Apapa” at the weekend as the personnel took active measures to ensure easy exit and entry into the area.
Deploying a sizeable number of its officers and men to work alongside other security agencies to ensure the smooth flow of vehicular movement, Uwadiae said the operations to clear Apapa would continue until the area is cleared of the gridlock.

He explained that the navy “has deployed personnel to man Mile 2 area, Berger up to Tin-Can Island area, Ijora, Liverpool, Marine Beach and all the adjourning roads leading into Apapa.

“Vehicles that deliberately block the road and prevent the smooth flow of traffic would be towed. Already, we are working with officials of the state’s traffic operatives to ensure that obstructions on the various roads leading to Apapa area removed totally.

“Apapa and its environs have been experiencing protracted traffic gridlock. The situation has become worrisome because it has serious security implications. We have a lot of national economic assets. And with the current security situation, in the event of a possible terror attacks, it will not be safe to allow the situation to continue.”

Leading the patrol team along the Ijora axis to Nigerian Ports Authority Quay (NPA), Uwadiae interfaced with tanker drivers and other security agencies on the way out of this menace.

Meanwhile, the leader of the terror sect, Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has claimed responsibility for the twin blasts on June 25 at a fuel depot and on Creek Road, Apapa, Lagos, AFP reported yesterday.
“A bomb went off in Lagos. I ordered the bomber who went and detonated it,” the French news agency, which is usually the first to get hold of Shekau’s videos before they distributed online, said.
Authorities said the blast was an accident caused by a gas canister, but security sources said it was a cover up meant to avoid panic in Lagos where about million people live.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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Tags:     Mr. Babatunde Fashola     President Goodluck Jonathan.     Nigeria