•Nigeria Loses N57bn To Fuel Gridlock
Port users, transporters and motorists were at the receiving end as the seven hours downpour on Tuesday brought traffic to standstill on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway.
The seven hours downpour which brought down all business activities in Apapa on Tuesday may have cost the country’s economy billions of Naira in revenue generation, man hour loss and inability of tanker drivers to move in and out of Apapa to lift or discharge petroleum products.
Specifically, most of the vehicles with containers coupled with tankers with petroleum products, commercial vehicles and motorists were stuck in the downpour as flood took over the roads linking Apapa to other road channels. Ports users, commuters and motorists going to Apapa were made to subjected to another round of hardship as most of the major roads leading to the port city were flooded after a heavy downpour.
About 20 tankers with petroleum products were seen trapped in the gridlock. Calculating this in terms of economic loss, premium motor spirit otherwise known as petrol at the rate of N87, each tanker was carrying 33,000 litre of fuel, it means that about N57,420,000 was lost by the country to the downpour on petroleum products alone without the addition of vehicles containers and commercial vehicles. Different people were seen in the flood trying to rescue motorists that broke down in the water.
While many motorists stayed back in their cars as the gridlock was standstill. Port users lamented that the downpour had adverse effects on their business as some of them that were earmarked to come for physical examination on their containers by the shipping companies missed their schedule as they were held in the gridlock. Consequently, this translates that the affected importers and agents will have to pay fine for not meeting up with the time. Also, officers of Nigeria Customs Service were not left out as men on uniforms were seen tracking in the downpour to their commands.
According to Managing Director, Doncaster Shipping Limited, Tunde Balogun, said the downpour really took a toll on his business as importers who are pencil down to receive their container goods were unable to get it due to the downpour as many of his staff including himself were trapped in the gridlock.
“The rain was a blessing in disguise. Initially, we have been complaining of traffic congestion on this Apapa-Oshodi expressway, with this flood, it has really compounded the movement of people as revenues loss becomes inevitable,” Balogun lamented. Major roads such as the Apapa- Oshodi expressway, Ijora-Apapa road, Creek Road and Wharf Road were all flooded due to the heavy downpour and absence of drainage.
Commuters and motorists were seen struggling and having a hectic time meandering their way out of huge pools of water on various sections of the roads. Some motorists who dared the flood have their vehicles broke down while the few that could wade in have a hectic time passing through the flood. Commercial bus drivers also took advantage of the situation as they hiked transport fares by as much as 400 per cent.
The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) appealed to the Nigerian National petroleum Company (NNPC) to make use of its depots in other states to ease Apapa traffic gridlock. Tokunbo Korodo, Chairman, South-West chapter of the union, made the appeal in an interview in Lagos. Korodo observed that effective distribution of petroleum products through the use of depots outside Lagos would reduce traffic congestion within Apapa of gridlock.