Professionals and stakeholders have again tasked government at the federal and state levels to up their response initiative in ensuring that ports in Nigeria, particularly the Lagos ports are timely connected to rail lines to free the Apapa Residential and Business District of its perennial traffic gridlock occasioned by poor transport connectivity and bad ports access roads.
Leading, Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside said government will continue to take timely, positive and strategic approach to improving on the transportation initiative to grow the economy. Represented by the agency’s Executive Director, Labour and Shipping Services said, “In NIMASA we have adopted collaboration as a means to achieving our mandate because we know we cannot do it alone.”
The call was made at the investiture of the President of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration in Nigeria, CIoTA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh along with his executive team at the Rockview Hotel, Apapa. Experts and stakeholders were of the consensus that a timely and pragmatic reengineering of a robust transport infrastructure remains the only solution to freeing the Apapa traffic gridlock, any less the sole option in putting the national economy on sound and competitive footing.
Delivering a keynote lecture titled Ensuring Competitiveness and Attractiveness in the Nigerian Transportation Sector-The Role of Professional Bodies, Prof. Pat Utomi noted that no economy can compete favourably in the absence of a well structured transportation system, and challenged CIoTA to advance strategies and proposals through which government can respond to the challenge of inefficient transportation system in the country.
Utomi linked part of the Apapa gridlock challenge to ‘eye service’ propaganda and shameful selective actions based on institutional failure. He accused the relevant authorities and concerned stakeholders of insincerity in solving the nation’s transportation problems, citing the recent presidential campaign rally held in Lagos, and for which trucks disappeared from the Apapa port roads only to re-surface after President Muhammadu Buhari left town.
He said, ““Today, the roads that we have built have been destroyed with tankers running from Lagos to every corner of our country, making transportation ineffective. How did we allow rail transportation to deteriorate so much that we are now celebrating that we are doing Lagos-Ibadan rail and all that. It should never have gotten to this. Things should be getting better and better.
“It is a crying shame that trucks could move out for a political rally and are back again. Part of our problem is that we don’t have institutional memory; we don’t structure knowledge management, well. It is the relationship between professional groups like this and policy makers that is the critical link.”
Speaking after his investiture, Jamoh who doubles as the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA ascribed transportation as the life wire of any society and economy. He said, “No matter where you come from, you must use one means of transportation, land, water or air, and that is how important transportation is. It is in fact life, we cannot do without it.”
“Today we are using rail line from Abuja to Kaduna, there is also a mono rail transport from Abuja City to the Airport, the Lagos-Abeokuta is already functioning and now Abeokuta to Ibadan. By the time we start looking at cargo movement using the rail line, you will agree with me that most of the traffic problems will reduce to 40 or 50percent”.
“The problem of this sector is synonymous to the problems of Nigeria. We as professionals will continue to try to look at the problems from three aspects; these are problems we can solve on the short, medium and long term. We will collaborate with port security and other agencies to see how we can ease off the Apapa gridlock, which is the short term aspect”.
He promised to motivate his exco members to ensure CIoTA makes serious and positive impact in the country during his tenure, even as he prioritize synergize with other transport related bodies and government agencies to fashion out strategies that will improve transportation network in the country.
Titanic industry players including the Chairman, BoT CIoTA, HRH Oba Rafiu Babatunde Balogun Adetoyose Ejalonibu11, Elejirin of Ejirin Land, Lagos state, former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Adebayo Sarumi, pioneer Director General of NIMASA, then National Maritime Authority, Engr. John Agese were present at the event.