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Looming disaster at Ekpan-Warri expressway

IN this part of our world, we do not make things happen, rather, we react to happenings. The word ‘proactive’ seems to be foreign to us; that is why buildings that have been marked for demolition are collapsing at regular intervals in Lagos.

Now that so many human lives have been wasted, due to the inaction of the people in authority, we are calling for investigation into what is clearly known to all. Money will be budgeted for a probe panel that would be set up and when all the hullabaloo has died down, we will be back to our usual ways and continue with our attitude of ‘I don’t care’.

That is why a small patch on the road will develop into a pothole and later a crater, and nothing will be done about it until tragedy occurs. And we have road managers, both at the federal and state levels, with budgets prepared annually for the fixing of these roads.

That is our way. We are addicted to taking long, tortuous and wasteful routes when the solution is simple preventive measures. Tankers The Oshodi-Apapa expressway has become a debacle that has defied all solutions as simple as it appears to be.

The country is losing billions of naira on a daily basis as a result of the daily logjams on this road. Why it has defied solution is still a wonder to all right thinking persons. When you say, ‘No Parking here’, that is when Nigerians will start parking in that space, beginning from the VIPs, followed by the ubiquitous trailer and tanker drivers, with the full support of their unions.

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For every action taken to checkmate their excesses, they threaten to go on strike and so government is blackmailed into submission. What type of people do we have in government who do not seem to care about the disasters happening around us and some others waiting to happen.

The situation at the Tin Can Island Ports off the Apapa expressway started gradually with one trailer and then another and now the whole place has been overtaken by trailers and tankers to the Mile Two end and beyond.

It is only in Nigeria that you will be held up for five hours in a kilometre-long journey and you get to the spot and can’t find any visible cause for the traffic jam except for the wickedness of man and the spinelessness of those in authority to effect order in society.

Everywhere you go to, all over the country, the lawlessness being exhibited cannot be quantified and when there are attempts to enforce the law those responsible for the infractions easily become rebellious and do things that will sabotage the general good. That is the situation presently at the Effurun-Ekpan-NPA expressway, Warri.

The danger here has been brewing for some time and unless urgent and bold steps are taken to avert the danger, it will soon get to a catastrophic level. The expressway leads to the Warri Port and also close to the refinery.

The unfolding problem began with a few tankers, now they have covered the whole stretch. From the Army Barracks to the Chevron Point, over a thousand tankers are parked on both sides of the road, reducing the space for smooth flow of traffic.

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This is a road that leads directly to Warri main town and a major route for governors, assembly members, ministers, commissioners and various heads of agencies. Incidentally, when President Muhammadu Buhari came to campaign in the area during the last election, the whole tankers vanished from the road.

But now they are back and in full force. The situation has been like this for over a year. Businesses along this road are gradually being affected, the condition of the road is already depreciating and no one seems concerned about it.

But unknown to many, we are sitting precariously on a time bomb because, God forbid, if any accident should happen now on that stretch of the road, the tragedy will be unimaginable. Imagine over two hundred fuel tankers parked bumper-to-bumper and there is a fire incident, what will the scene be like? They even discharge some of their products on the road there and we are beginning to witness occasional spills which make the road slippery and driving extremely dangerous.

Yet this is what people go through everyday in Warri, with no one in authority deeming it necessary to put a stop to it. The Warri situation is even more precarious than what obtains at the Tin Can area in Lagos because, here in Warri, there are residential houses and offices along the expressway.

With the slightest spark of fire, all will be consumed in the resulting inferno. Warri/Effurun Peace Marathon: Gyan cries for more action The traffic hazards that these trailers constitute is another cause for concern. These tanker drivers have become lords unto themselves and do not care for other road users. Incidentally, no government official is doing anything about it. But there is a group of touts or union members who go about collecting money from these drivers and allowing them to park on the road.

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The question here is: under whose authority are they collecting this money? Who accounts for it? And what do they do with it? From what is happening so far, it is clear that the money is not going into government coffers. I understand that there is a trailer park around the Nigercat area, but when you go there you won’t find any trailer or tanker parked there; they prefer to park on the expressway, disturbing traffic. It is a disaster waiting to happen; the authorities must take urgent action before such a disaster happens.

It could extend to the refinery and their facilities. The people in the oil sector pride themselves on observing safety standards; all of their businesses are congregated along this stretch. So, it is a wonder that none has taken any step to ward off this potential danger; they are all looking at the situation with indifference.

We must take action now to avoid the looming catastrophe along the Effurun-Ekpan expressway.

Source:By Sunny Ikhioya

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