By Lawrence Olaoye
As part of measures to decongest the Apapa Port, the Lagos state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-olu has enlisted the support of President Muhammadu Buhari for his proposed massive upgrade of Lekki and Badagry seaports.
The governor disclosed this to State House correspondents after a meeting with President Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa, saying that he had come to get his approval for the few initiatives he was planning implement in his state.
According to the Governor, “Apapa Ports itself has grown beyond where it is now. That is why Lagos State is speaking with investors to see how we can push either the Lekki Port or the Badagary Port as the long term alternative to the Apapa Port because that would be the long term solution in terms of our growth of development as a nation”.
Asked how the president responded to this and other planned initiatives for Lagos, Sanwo-olu said: “I can’t get it any better. His words were very encouraging; his acceptance with the initiatives that I brought onboard were very resounding. So I am very encouraged and he just gives me the opportunity to go and do more”.
Speaking on short-term remedies, he explained that “the reconstruction of the road has started, but it’s not at the stage in which we can feel the full impact of it. That’s on one side. The movement of the tanker drivers has also started.
“There is a lily pond terminal that has been created with NPA and other terminal operators which I imagined have started doing what we call the call-up system.
“What I understand by the call up is that it’s a system that need to be a bid more electronically driven. I think it’s currently run manually now but if we can get a software that can enhance it andenforce it, the call-up system can become something that can hold the tanker drivers accountable. If you’re not call on to come unto the port you are not meant to come.”
Stressing that all his initiatives are meant to improve the quality of life and business development in Lagos, the Governor said they included security and economic investment opportunities.
On what he is doing concerning the Lagos/Badagary expressway which has been a death trap, the governor said: “I’ve been there twice now and the commitment we got was that the contractors would move into site before the end of this month and I am still relaying that in the month of June, we should be closing our the discussions with the contractor over the weekend early next week.
“We are hoping that barely any unforeseen circumstance, they should be moving in in another two to three weeks time; meaning that the cleanup and the construction of the Badagry expressway return in earnest”.