The Looming Epidemy In Apapa Over Menace Of Articulated Vehicles

Apparently overwhelmed by tons of wastes in and around the port city of Apapa, the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) recently warned that in order to avoid a looming epidemy within Apapa and its environs, there is need for concerned authorities to provide access for its personnel to clean up the city.

The agency raised the alarm over what it called the continuous degeneration of quality of life through collapse of public hygiene and waste management services in the Apapa area.

It also blamed the challenges of accessibility by LAWMA vehicles and the attendant deplorable condition of the environment at Apapa, on the of articulated vehicles that have invaded and taken abode in Apapa.

The waste management agency said categorically that efforts to extend its services to Apapa are being hampered by articulated trucks, which had made the road impassable for LAWMA and its collaborators; the PSP operators.

In its lamentation, it pointed out that, "LAWMA sweepers cannot work efficiently there; people bathe and defecate on the road, thus wearing out the asphalt. The roads have also been turned into mechanic workshops where major repairs of heavy trucks are carried out, spilling engine oil and diesel on same road"

“To avert the outbreak of epidemy in the area, there is need for the authorities concerned to clear Apapa for smooth operation by our operatives”.

As a maritime media outfit, it grieves our heart and we become more pained by the fact that successive governments watch as the once-beautiful port city of Apapa is chocked up by activities of truck owners as well as owners of petroleum products tank farms.

Yes, we agree that Apapa is the hub of maritime activities in Nigeria, but the horde of articulated vehicles which transit Lagos enroute other parts of the country is perhaps a testimony that Nigeria has abandoned other modes of transportation, also paid less attention to other ports.

Apapa is a very strategic to the nation’s economy. The port city is home to Nigeria’s two foremost ports which are currently being managed by nine terminal operators. Between the two ports called; Lagos Port Complex and Tin Can Island Port, more than 65 percent of dry cargoes and about 90 per cent of the nation’s liquid (petroleum products) are handled. This is because it hosts about 42 tank farms (and still counting). 

Certainly, the presence of these tank farms has brought untold hardships to residents, owners of businesses, motorists and workers in the port city. This can also be said of other Lagosians who have had to contend with the trucks, which either loaded with petroleum products or dry cargoes, have also brought pains, sorrow and even deaths to Lagosians.

It has been established that the twin causes of the chaotic traffic in and out of Apapa are bad roads and lack of holding bays for articulated vehicles. 

By its strategic geographic and commercial location, Apapa is linked to the rest of the city by two major highways; the Apapa – Oshodi expressway and Apapa-Ijora road. Of course, it can also be approached by water from Mile Two (on the mainland) and Marina axis (on the Island).  

Needless to recount that, scores have died (and continue to die) in the madness that drivers of articulated vehicles, and others, including commuters experience daily. 

May we also add that robbery attacks are a common thing on the two access roads, the Ijora axis being the most notorious?

Added to these and being a consequence of longstanding failure of infrastructure is the epidemic that LAWMA warned about.

Approaching Apapa from either Ijora or from the Mile 2 axis present a clear picture of city under the siege of filth occasioned by the activities of articulated trucks. The effect is that, neither the privileged ‘GRA’ nor the adjoining Aegunle, Orile, Kirikiri are free; they have all been taken over by trucks, tankers and filth, including human wastes.

Apapa used to be a thriving, attractive and very busy city, with free flowing vehicular and human traffic; this is in addition to other human endeavours that take place there.  It is so sad that Apapa has now turned to a failed city; a bedlam of chaos and no-go-area for many. 

Of course, the number of articulated trucks calling at the ports and the tank farms has increased tremendously since the ports were concessioned in 2006. Volume of cargo has increased significantly, so also is the means of conveying the cargoes out of ports.

Sadly however, just like with petrol tankers and the tank farms, these bulk cargo bearing trucks have also brought pains, sorrow and even deaths to Lagosians. These truckers bathe and defeacate in the open owing to absence of pubic conveniences. But the question is, can there be public conveniences on the bridge where these trucks park for days, running to weeks.

The state of Apapa axis has been like this for years, but it became aggravated due to insensitivity on the part of the previous administration which heard and even saw the extent of decay, but never did anything to ameliorate it.