By DAPO OLAWUNI
Transport experts who gathered at the just concluded 3rd National Transport Summit of the Chattered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIOTA) in Abuja have warned Lagosians to brace up for an impending traffic disaster in the state due to the ongoing construction of Dangote Refinery at Lakki Free Trade Zone.
The experts lamented that the refinery would bring about 3,000 trucks trooping into Lekki area on daily basis in order to load petroleum products.
Apparently, the builders of the refinery and the government jettisoned the need for pipeline connectivity in distribution of the products from the refinery.
Speaking as a discussant on a paper titled “Technical and Safety Regulation of Pipeline Transportation in Nigeria” former Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transport, Dr Taiwo Salam alleged that severally warnings being issued on the need for pipeline and railway connectivity to Dangote Refinery is not heeded.
“Lekki Free Trade Zone is four times the size of Victoria Island and it is divided into four parts. I was the Technical Chairman and I handled the Traffic Impact Assessment. A very large company has built a refinery and I advised that 50% of the refinery’s products be shipped away via vessels while the other 50% through pipelines. However, with no pipeline provision, over 3,000 trucks would be needed to move out 50% of the refined products on daily basis.”
He argued that a pipeline should have been constructed to link the Lekki Free Trade Zone to the Ijebu-Ode/ Ore road.
“There’s a huge land mass along that Ijebu-Ode/ Ore corridor, so a huge tank farm could be situated there and tankers wouldn’t have to create disasters on the Lekki roads and all the communities the tankers would pass before getting to Ijebu-Ode. As I’m talking to you, political sense outweighed my technical advice.”
Also speaking, the presenter of the paper, a petroleum engineer and energy analyst, Eng. Bala Zaka warned that the Dangote Refinery would choke Lagos State so much so that the populace would not be able to drive around freely.
“How can you build a refinery without thinking of how the product would be evacuated
“The problem with Nigeria is that we do not think into the future, our leaders failed to bring up sustainable policies, creating a policy is like thinking into the future ”
“The last time we had a refinery construction was in 1989 which is about 32 years now, and for that period, no refinery was built again, should anybody be telling us that we would have energy crisis?
Eng. Zaka charged the Nigerian government to deepen investments in pipeline mode of transportation and explore the mode for other purposes.
He stressed that pipeline linkages could also be used for water desalination, sewage control, fertilizer distribution, among other uses.
He, however, opined that the burden of regulation and policy development that would lead to transformational changes and investments in the nation’s pipeline mode of transport rests on CIoTA as a body of professionals.