Deteriorating Apapa-Wharf Road Threatens Nigeria’s Economic Stability — The decaying state of the Apapa-Wharf Road, a pivotal artery into Nigeria’s busiest seaport, Apapa, has begun to send shockwaves through the nation’s economy. Potholes and gullies, which now characterize the road, not only threaten the N2.6 trillion revenue of the Nigeria Customs Service but also spell daily losses for businesses, port users, and haulage operators.
Tragically, the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, which was supposed to serve as an alternative route, is no longer viable. The reason? A surge of tankers transporting oil and gas products from tank farms along the Mile 2-Coconut axis have congested it.
During a recent visit to the port city, our team observed the daunting challenges of navigating the area. Trucks laden with goods frequently toppled over due to the hazardous state of the road, particularly around the Ijora area. This is not to mention the perilous conditions around the Leventis bus stop and the Area ‘B’ Barracks axis.
Tony Anakebe, a Lagos-based Customs-licensed agent, painted a grim picture: “Importers are recording enormous losses daily. When containers overturn, additional costs pile up for the importers, from renting trucks to transferring loads, and even paying demurrage to shipping companies. Worse, some containers become targets for local hoodlums before they can be cleared.”
Anakebe’s concerns were echoed by Bala Mohammed, a trucker, who lamented the state of Nigeria’s economic gateway. “Billions of naira worth of goods are destroyed when containers fall,” Mohammed pointed out. He further highlighted the criminal activities that the road’s condition has enabled, with passengers frequently being robbed during traffic congestions.
Mohammed passionately appealed to the government, suggesting they declare a state of emergency on the Apapa-Wharf Road. “The road is an essential part of every economy. Without good roads, the flow of goods in and out of the port is severely hampered,” he said.
Vicky Haastrup, a terminal operator, pointed out the disparity between the improvements inside the port and the deteriorating conditions outside it. Despite the commendable progress made within the port, the crumbling infrastructure outside does not reflect these efforts.
The traffic woes also resonate with daily commuters like Bidemi Sule, a shipping agency staff. He described his daily commute as a nightmare, often spending hours trapped in traffic on the congested Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
As Nigeria’s economic lifeline faces this daunting challenge, temporary solutions have been implemented by individuals and companies, but they barely scratch the surface. A long-term solution is urgently needed to ensure the nation’s economic stability remains unshaken.