*We Need Ministry Of Maritime Affairs – Captain Abel Ogar.
By Silas Onuoha
Dr. Dorcas Daniel Bature has said that Apapa gridlock
is no longer news as no amount of blame game or half measures that will change the horrible traffic situation in Apapa.
She stated this during The New Experience Lecture Award 2021 titled. Apapa Gridlock The Implication To The Nation And Port Admistration.
“Motorists and residents who ply or live on Apapa axis have continued to groan over the worsening traffic situation in the area.
Despite efforts by the government to eliminate the causes, Apapa traffic has remained a monster that defies all remedies.
Consequently, businesses have continued to suffer while commuting has remained a herculean task.
“Apart from losses in Manpower on traffic, property income has continued to suffer. This is so because businesses are shutting down or relocating while tenants are also relocating out of Apapa thereby, taking away social activities from the area which in turn, affects the economy of the local government, then the State government and the country at large.
Speaking further on how, the Apapa gridlock has had negative impacts on the Nigerian economy, Dr. Dorcas Bature Informed.
“The tax-loss estimate from DIL in 2018 was N44bn, and in 5 years accumulated loss will be N2.1 trillion. When all the taxes are combined from private sectors operating in the Apapa axis, such as BUA, Honeywell, and other businesses, the estimated total loss to the government is about N11 trillion.
Despite the fact that Apapa is home to the two busiest ports in Nigeria.
However, what could have been a blessing has turned into a nightmare for both motorists and residents as the inefficiency of operators of the ports has worsened the situation,”she said.
the challenges motorists, commuters and truck drivers in the Apapa environs faces daily, Dr. Bature said”there is urgent need of government intervention to improve traffic flow down to Oshodi-Apapa Expressway”.
On the way forward,
Capt. Abel Ogar said.
“If you look at where Nigeria is today, the number one problem we have is leadership, and when the leadership is faulty there is lack of political will to do things right, that is a big problem.
He went on.
“This is the time to start putting the right people in their places. We don’t have a maritime policy, if we have a maritime policy our ports supposed not to be lying valueless.
“Imagine a business man from the Eastern part of the country coming to Lagos to clear his imported containers, when the containers could have arrived in Calabar, Port Harcourt, or warri and the business man do whatever he want to do with his containers, what business does he have coming to Lagos he asked government”.
Emphasizing the need to put the right persons in their right place, Capt. Ogar lament that in Nigeria we dont have a maritime person managing the maritime industry, saying that the time has come for Nigeria to
have ministry of maritime affair.
“You can’t bring a carpinter to manage a hospital what is going to happen to the sick ones, or bringing one nurse to be a journalist, what report is she going to give to the public. Hence the need to put professionals to manage their professions.
He went on. ” Aviation contribute just about 5 percent to national GDP, while maritime contributes over 90 percent to national GDP. If aviation can have a ministry, why can not maritime industry have”,he said.