A Lagos base maritime expert, Prince Olusegun Ologbese has enjoined the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms Hadiza Bala Usman to face her primary functions as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the grade â€˜Aâ€™ parastatal.
Ologbese who is also the chief executive officer (CEO), Ogbese Marine Services Limited and a veteran in the clearing and forwarding business argued that rather than dissipating energy on endless war of attrition with investors in the maritime industry, Usman should concentrate on delivering on her primary roles and responsibilities.
He specifically called on the NPA Managing Director to address the key challenges plaguing the nationâ€™s seaports.
These include poor port access roads, high cargo dwell time (CDT), the common user services and the dearth of adequate manpower.
His words: â€œMy advice to the NPAâ€™s Managing Director is that she should face her primary roles and responsibilities as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority. She should concentrate on her mandate. She should focus on the business of how port users will have good roads inside and outside the ports and other things that would attract good business to Nigeriaâ€.
He maintained that his advice to Usman was hinged on the fact that since her appointment last year, it seemed that the NPA Managing Director has been enmeshed in several unnecessary battles at the same time instead of remaing focus on her primary assignment.
According to him, Usman is presently facing many challenges in the course of discharging her duties because it has been one problem or the other virtually every week. The issue of dredging of the Calabar port, the House and Senate Committees on Marine Transport in the National Assembly asking questions on Procurement Unit of NPA, the ordering of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) out of the main exit gate which means that she is drawing problems for herself because it is not possible for Customs to operate from the outside the port gate.
Ologbese, a life patron of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ondo/Ekiti Councils argued that the NCS officers are at the main gate for the purpose of final checking of exiting cargo from the nationâ€™s seaports.
The maritime expert maintained that by the time officers and men of the NCS are exempted from the main gate, cargo will automatically exit the port without any opportunity for a last minute check.
â€œThere are insinuations in some quarters that Usmanâ€™s moves are the handiwork of highly connected smugglers of contraband who had been trying to make sure that the NCS is moved out from the NPA exit gate. This same scenario happened during the time of Mrs. Kema Chikwe as the Minister of Transport.
She got to the gate and saw that it was only men that are manning the eight exit points at the port which is the gate way to Nigeria economy. According to her, two men are not enough for each of the exit gate. At the end of the day, port users were witnesses to want eventually happened after that encounterâ€, he said.