Strike: Agents adamant despite NPA promise to reconstruct port roads

NPA to raise N4.5bn to reconstruct Apapa port roads
L-R: Executive Director Engineering and Technical Services of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Prof. Idris Abubakar; NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman; Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello; Member, House of Representatives Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways, Ayodeji Joseph; and General Manager Western Ports of NPA, Abiodun Gbadamosi during a stakeholders meeting on the Apapa ports access road in Lagos yesterday.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it would raise N4.3 billion to reconstruct access roads around Apapa Port as port operators withdrew services over poor infrastructure. Notwithstanding this promise however, clearing agents and truck operators who are on strike to protest the poor state of the port access roads have remained adamant, saying they were yet to see concrete evidence that government was ready to address their grievances. 

The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Usman, told a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos on Monday that NPA would provide N1.8 billion while Dangote Group and Flour Mills would provide N2.5 billion.

The NPA convened the stakeholders’ meeting to bring back operators who withdrew their services from the port.

“We have received a proposal for Corporate Social Responsibility of N2.5 billion from Dangote Group and Flour Mills for the full reconstruction of port roads.

“The reconstruction entails full drainage service and the total cost of the Apapa port access roads project is N4.3 billion.

“The two entities are willing to provide N2.5 billion, while NPA will pay the remaining N1.8 billion to ensure that the roads are done,” Usman said.

NPA to raise N4.5bn to reconstruct Apapa port roads
NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello inspecting the port access roads in Apapa, Lagos yesterday.

The NPA boss said that the reconstruction would begin within one month, adding that she would ensure speedy completion of the project.

She said that the Federal Ministry of Works would request the approval of Federal Executive Council to obtain the necessary approvals for NPA to embark on the project.

Usman said NPA has asked the Federal Ministry of Works to provide the final engineering design and costing to enable it embark on the reconstruction of the Creek road and Liverpool road later this year.

“I feel concerned about the deplorable state of these roads and I communicated at a meeting with the minister that we are willing to fund these roads irrespective of which agency of government is doing it,” she said.

Usman said that the management of NPA would make provision for an annual budget for the reconstruction of the roads.

She urged the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently complete the reconstruction of Coconut-Mile 2 road in Lagos.

Usman said that NPA would seek permission of the Federal Ministry of Works to complete the holding bay under the Public Private Partnership arrangement.

NPA to raise N4.5bn to reconstruct Apapa port roads
Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman (second left); National Publicity Secretary, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Kayode Farinto (centre) and other stakeholders on the Apapa ports access road yesterday.

According to the NPA boss, the congestion around Apapa and Tin Can Island ports was due to lack of an effective holding bay, trailer parks and non-reconstruction of ports roads in Lagos.

Usman commended the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, for dialoguing with port operators who had protested poor infrastructure at the port.

Speaking earlier, Bello stressed the need for regular dialogue with stakeholders on issues militating against port operations.

He pleaded with the port users to suspend the withdrawal of their services and await the outcome of the initiatives of the NPA management.

Also speaking, the Chairman Corporate Fleet Truck Association, Mrs. Folake Soji-George, urged NPA to compel security agencies to stop tanker drivers from using one-way roads.

Soji-George said that security agencies should be committed to their duties by ensuring the free flow of traffic to reduce the time of doing business at the ports.

National Publicity Secretary, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, said the strike action embarked upon by the truckers and licensed customs agents, which paralysed port activities on Monday, would continue until their full demands, which include repair of the port access, reduction of Customs units at the ports and a commitment by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to reduce the hardship posed to port users in the clearance of their cargoes, are fully met.   

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