Fact Check: Did Sanwo-Olu promise to end Apapa gridlock in 60 days?
Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu Tuesday denied saying that he would solve the problem of gridlock in and around Apapa port within 60 days of assuming office.
The gridlock has persisted for years with both federal and state government not being able to find a lasting solution to the problem.
The backlog of gridlock has spilt into roads and bridges that lead into Apapa.
“Interestingly, some media houses are already counting down to the day. They said that I mentioned during the campaign train that I was going to clear it in 60 days,” Sanwo-Olu during his visit to Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“I have mentioned it before; what I said was that in 60 days, we would review what was done; but that does not take the fact that even if people give you datelines, it is because they want you to do well and they want you to be accountable for those datelines,” he added.
This begs the question: did Sanwo–Olu promise to end Apapa gridlock in 60 days?
During a televised governorship debate, Sanwo-Olu said he has identified 62 gridlocks in the state, stating that some were “low-hanging” traffic problems which can be resolved within the “first 60 days” in office.
“So first 60 days is to solve the one that are low-hanging about 20 or 22 of them,” Sanwo-Olu said.
Sanwo-Olu continued by stating that there are other gridlocks which are “medium and long term” traffic problems. He, however, did not mention if the Apapa gridlock was any of it.
However, the governor categorically said he will “tackle” the Apapa gridlock within the first 100 days in office.
“The first 100 days, I will tackle the gridlock in Apapa, I will need to clear out all the traffic and all the trailers on top of Apapa,” he added.
To now say he only promised a “review” is misleading and untrue.
Apapa gridlock menace
Buhari in October said the situation was “a major concern” and the government will urgently repair roads and build more railways to the ports to end the gridlocks.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited Apapa in May 2017 and directed officials to start working around the clock and all agencies to locate their operations in one place to ease delays.
On May 22, 2019, the federal government mandated “the immediate removal of all trucks from the bridges and roads within Apapa and all adjoining streets leading into the Apapa axis.”
It’s been to little avail.
Check on the route few weeks after the federal government order showed that the tankers and trailers have remained parked on most of the roads leading to the Tin Can and Apapa ports.
A report by Nigerian Shippers’ Council in 2018 said the cost of moving a container from Apapa to other parts of Lagos has soared to as much as 700,000 naira from about 150,000 naira two years ago as trucking firms put up their prices to make up for the delays.