MINSTER of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has called for the movement of cargo across the country by rail in order to save the nation’s roads. Fashola said as he fielding questions from newsmen while inspecting the ongoing rehabilitation of access road to Apapa/Tin Can Island Port in Lagos, which included the construction of a new bridge running parallel to the existing one from Liverpool Roundabout across Porto Novo Creek According to a statement issued yesterday by his special assistant on media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, Fashola expressed dismay at the rate the roads and bridges were collapsing as a result of stress of cargoes by the tankers and trailers. He therefore warned that unless the trend was reversed, the transportation business would be adversely affected, adding there was need for all the stakeholders including government and in the trailer/tanker business moving cargo across the country, to agree on reverting to the rail transportation. Recalling that he had in the past suggested to the drivers of articulated vehicles moving heavy cargos to begin to think of alternative means, seeing the damage they cause on the roads, Fashola pointed out that if this was not done in time the roads may collapse and so would their business. “In the past, I told all the tanker drivers that if they could move from rail transport to tanker and container transport on roads and we have seen the damage we have done, there is no reason we cannot move back. “Although it may take time but there must be a common agreement to move off the roads “because if the roads fail, the transport business dies. “So in the same way they import trailers to move their cargo, they can begin to make arrangements to import wagons. We must all agree that this is the way to go. I am convinced that this is the way to go for the future,” he said. Fashola suggested that instead of building and reconstructing the rail-lines, the same containers and tankers could be configured
to run on tracks adding, that the present administration was now moving cattle by rail from the North to Lagos. On the rehabilitation project, the Minister, who described it as an emergency intervention, he noted that “this is why Ijora- Apapa Bridge failed because it was just over burdened with cargo for a very long time and after sometime it could not hold it anymore.” Explaining his reason for the inspection, he said “I am here to see things for myself so that those who will give me budgetary support when they ask me for details I can give to them,” adding that the project could not be appropriated in the 2016 budget but would be accommodated in the 2017 budget.

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