5th August, 2011
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday received the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar in audience, reiterating his call that there can be no good roads in the country until plans to build new ones are complemented by a reactivation and maintenance of a reliable rail network.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at Lagos House, Ikeja when he received the Minister and his entourage who were on a familiarisation visit to the ministryâ€™s formations in Lagos, added that the roads in the country are not designed for the kind of tonnage of goods it receives daily from the ports.
â€œThat explains the sorry state of the Apapa -Oshodi Expressway which also serves five industrial estates namely Apapa, Amuwo- Odofin, Isolo, Matori, and Ilupeju Industrial estates. Non- industrialists are also making use of the roads importing rice, milk and so many other things that hit the marketâ€™â€™, he added.
The governor explained that with the best of efforts in building a road, the latest is that in two yearâ€™s time, the road is back in a state of disrepair, stressing that until the country gets the very heavy tonnage off the roads either intercity or intracity, Nigeria will simply be chasing shadows.
â€œThe people of Lagos will hope and give support to you to do the right things to resuscitate the rail network so that petroleum cargo can pass through the rail network. Go to Apapa today, the rail tracks are still there. It is how to re-establish network that remains the challenge,â€ Governor Fashola stated.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar said he was in Lagos to familiarise himself with the workings of the ports, railways and to see how they are faring and also see the level of achievements, the challenges and discuss them.
The minister who expressed gladness at the level of cooperation existing between the Lagos State Government and the agencies and parastatals of the ministry in Lagos, said he is quite aware of a few challenges in the operation of the Ports which had to do with administration, the security and a few other things.
â€œI believe that with further interaction and interface, we will resolve all contending issues particularly as they affects the railways and to some extent maritime Ports Authority, National Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA), and the Shippers councilâ€™â€™.
Prominent among those who attended the event were members of the State Executive Council including the Commissioner for Transportation, Hon. Kayode Opeifa and Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba while among the senior government functionaries who were on the Ministerâ€™s entourage were the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Transport, Mr. Olugbenga Oyewole and Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Prince Seyi Sijuwade as well as the chief executives of the Nigeria Ports Authority and NIMASA among others.