Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The new Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Akin Ricketts, has decried the under-utilisation of seaports in the eastern corridor.
Ricketts, in his remarks during the inauguration of the NPA board by the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday in Abuja, stressed the need for maximum utilisation of the eastern corridor seaports.
He said: “The eastern corridor seaports are under-utilised and must be made to function optimally.”
Ricketts also notified the minister of the intractable congestion at Lagos ports, adding that the problem must be dealt with as a priority challenge.
He pledged the board’s cooperation to enable NPA deal with the challenges.
“The major issues confronting our ports today are capacity utilisation and evacuation corridors. While the ports in the east are being grossly under-utilised due to many factors, the efficiency of the ports in Lagos is hampered by inadequate evacuation corridors that lead to congestion on the road, which ultimately affects prompt service delivery.
“This is a challenge that we intend to confront head-on in conjunction with other stakeholders, with a view to ameliorating the sufferings of port users and ease business in the port, as envisaged by the federal government.
“We are sure that NPA would have its share of challenges and issues that need to be resolved or need immediate attention. We will do that in conjunction with the management and all relevant stakeholders.
“We will ensure that we give every issue and matter that comes to our attention the consideration it deserves and deal with it fairly and objectively, without favour or ill will,” the chairman stated.
Rickets also promised synergy and effective oversight of NPA without constituting itself into alternative management.
He explained that the board would create an atmosphere where employees would be given the opportunity to air their views and express dissent on any policy or action, they feel strongly about.
“And we will ensure that measures are emplaced so that this process is not unduly abused.
“We will ensure that feedback mechanisms are in place from our major stakeholders and port users so that we improve on service delivery, efficiency and capacity,” he added.
Earlier, Amaechi had urged the board not to run a parallel management.
The minister told the new board not to run parallel management, adding that “it is important you work with the management. It is important you realise you are not the management, you are a board.”
Amaechi also tasked the new board to ensure smooth operations at the ports, noting that “we are in unusual times but we cannot afford to shut our seaports. Activities must continue.”
Other board members inaugurated yesterday in Abuja were Mohammed Koko, Onari Brown; Senator Binta Masi Garba; Senator John Udoidighe; Abdulwahab Adeshina; Ghazali Mohammed; Mustapha Aminu Dutse and Prof. Idris Abubakar.