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NEPZA to tackle gridlock within Lekki Free Zone

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The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says it has concluded plan to address emerging traffic gridlock from operations of Pinnacle Oil & Gas, one of the Free Zone Enterprises (FZE) registered in Lekki free zone.

The Managing Director of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, said this on Monday in a statement issued by Mr Martins Odeh, the Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA.

Adesuga said that the plan was in response to the Nigeria Economic Zones Association’s concern on increasing movement of oil tankers in the Lekki axis after Pinnacle Oil & Gas FZE commenced operations.

The NEPZA boss commended the association for its intervention, adding that it was effectively playing its role as the industry trade association for economic zones in the country.

“We shall take up the matter immediately with the aim of resolving whatever constraints the parties are confronted with,” Adesugba said.

Adesugba said that the economy could not afford another traffic challenge like the one in Apapa.

He questioned why the zone operator, Lekki Free Zone Development Company, did not make provision for a truck park before the commencement of operations.

“I will summon a meeting on this matter. A truck park must be created within Lekki Free Zone to accommodate the number of trucks doing businesses in the Lekki Free Zone axis.

“As an immediate step, we will ensure that the Lekki Free Zone and Pinnacle Oil & Gas FZE operate in such manner that trucks are not parked on the road.

“We are aware that the lasting solution is for the Lekki Free Zone to build a truck park within the shortest time possible and these details will be worked out with the stakeholders,” he said.

The NEPZA CEO also said that Lekki axis was economically strategic to the Nigerian economy, adding that any stakeholder that failed to take corrective action would be sanctioned appropriately.

Earlier, Toyin Elegbede, Executive Secretary of the association expressed frustration about the gridlock.

According to him, efforts so far made by the association to get both Lekki Free Zone Development Company and Pinnacle Oil & Gas FZE to resolve the emerging traffic crisis has not yielded any result.

“This has led to scores of tankers parking on the road, converting it into a truck park thereby affecting flow of traffic and throwing all stakeholders in the axis in a deep state of distress.

“The current shortage of fuel has exacerbated the issue as it has hampered the operations of other businesses from the axis.

“This situation, if not tackled early enough, will render the whole axis not conducive for businesses and this will negatively affect the country’s drive for economic development through the Free Trade Zone scheme.

“Moreover, it poses significant security and safety threats to the residents in and around these parked tankers,” Elegbede said.

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Ikenna Uwadileke

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