The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, has given March 1 deadline to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) for enforcement of the minimum standard of safety and road worthiness for trucks plying the nation’s six major ports.
Speaking during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with the FRSC in Lagos, yesterday, Usman said the NPA has the responsibility to protect lives and properties of all stakeholders accessing its services by ensuring that all articulated vehicles and trucks which on daily basis freight containers and assorted bulk cargoes to different parts of the country from the ports meet the required minimum safety standards.
Usman said NPA was collaborating with the FRSC as part of efforts to put lasting solutions to the Oshodi-Apapa expressway gridlock.
To ensure full compliance, she said NPA is collaborating with FRSC and other safety enforcement agencies to achieve safety standard for trucks accessing the ports by adopting the Road Traffic Safety Standarisation Scheme, which include regular inspection and certification.
“Apapa for example is home to Nigerian’s two foremost ports which are being managed by nine terminal operators. Between the two ports, more than 65 per cent of dry cargoes and about 90 per cent of the nation’s liquid (petroleum products) are handled. This is because it hosts about 35 tank farms in addition to the numerous other businesses that are located in this port city.
“Going by the operational activities highlighted above, there is always heavy vehicular traffic around all port locations and most of these vehicles are not in good state.
“This debilitating vehicular traffic has assumed a frightening dimension in so many port areas. It has led to serious accidents that have claimed innocent lives and several manhours lost in traffic jam. Miscreants in armed robbery and other social vices have been on the increase because of the perennial traffic situation in those areas,” Usman said.
She said past efforts put in place by NPA, some state governments and terminal operators to ameliorate the situation have not produced desired outcome because most of the vehicles plying the road are not road worthy. She urged the FRSC to ensure that no rickety vehicle enters the port.
In his address, Corps Marshal of the FRSC, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi said his agency was happy over NPA’s initiative and tasked owners of heavy duty trucks operating within and around the ports on the need to strictly adhere to the minimum safety standards in order to ensure safety of haulage operations.
He said FRSC will enforce all the aspects of the MoU.
He said adequate and appropriate driver education and speed limit devices are vital and would therefore be enforced by his men.
He said from March 1, the field commands of the agency would be fully mobilised for the enforcement of the MoU.