NPA, Dangote, Flour Mill to reconstruct wharf road FG moves to beef up maritime security as Osinbajo meets CDS, NSA
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Eromosele Abiodun in Lagos
The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, Monday in Lagos pleaded with clearing agents and freight forwarders to return to work and call off their strike.
She made the appeal at a meeting with representatives of the truckers and licensed customs agents at a parley to resolve the lingering crisis.
She said the problems of bad roads and inadequate infrastructure were also of concern to government and apologised on behalf of the Ministers of Works and Transportation for the delay in fixing them.
She added that major reconstruction work to completely overhaul the deplorable Apapa Wharf road has been taken over by the agency and will commence next month.
Usman noted that NPA has made provision for the construction of the road in its 2017 budget with the sum of N4 billion, adding that NPA has agreed to commence the full reconstruction of the wharf road in collaboration with Dangote group and Flour Mills jointly funding the project.
She who undertook an inspection tour of the failed port access roads at Tin can Island and Coconut axis, called on them to give her time to fix the roads.
Usman also added that government has some bureaucratic challenges it faces in addressing the issues, hence she pleaded for more time and patience.
She promised to dialogue more with the stakeholders like the Port Consultative Council (PCC) where issues will be raised regularly with a view to finding lasting solutions.
Meanwhile, the withdrawal of service by licensed customs agents and freight forwarders at the ports appeared to be hit by a setback on day one.
When THISDAY went round the ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island yesterday, there were scanty movements of trucks in and out of the port area.
Though, vehicle traffic was low, there were heavy presence of policemen drawn from the Ports Authority Police Command to prevent breakdown of law and order.
National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr. Kayode Farinto who was seen at the entrance of Tin Can gate 2, confirmed the development.
Farinto told journalists that the compliance level by agents and freight forwarders at Tin Can was low.
Attempts by some agents to prevent trucks from entering the port was resisted as it almost degenerated into physical scuffles before the truck eventually went in.
An official of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Simon Nwonu told THISDAY that the service withdrawal action is making progress.
He confirmed that his organisation is monitoring the progress being made with the action.
Spokesperson for Tin Can customs, Uche Ejesieme told THISDAY that the leadership of the agents and freight forwarders groups came early yesterday to the customs gate to prevent their members from gaining access into the customs facility.
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday met with the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabriel Olonishakin and the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd) behind closed doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to map out strategies for maritime security.
Also present in the meeting were the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and the Minister of Defence, Col. mansur Dan-Alli (rtd)
At the meeting, a memorandum meant for presentation and approval on maritime security in the country at tomorrowâ€™s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting was considered and reviewed.
Fielding questions from journalists, Dan-Ali said the memo on maritime security had been a pending issue before FEC which he said was finally resolved at the meeting.
He described the resolution as a big achievement, disclosing that the acting president had hitherto been meeting with communities in the Niger Delta, a move he said had put paid to the destruction of oil installations in the region.
â€œItâ€™s a pending issue of FEC meeting that we wanted to resolve on maritime surveillance and it has been resolved. Acting President has been meeting with the communities. We have been able to save many communities of oil pipeline bombings and oil theft.
â€œIt is a big achievement and I believe that the acting president has been doing well in that direction,â€ he added