NPA workers tackle NIPCO over proposed tank farm in Apapa

The senior staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) under the aegis of Senior Staff Association of Communication, Transport and Corporation (ssactac), NPA branch, have raised an alarm over a proposed construction of tank farm by NIPCO Plc at the Dockyard, Apapa Port.
The association, which spoke through its branch President, Comrade Omeiza Umar, revealed that the service company is planning to commence a petroleum pipeline of 1.5km stretch from Waziri jetty to NIPCO jetty at the NPA Apapa Dockyard water front.
Comrade Umar stated that the NPA staff were compelled to raise the alarm over the proposed project which if allowed to commence, will not only choke the Dockyard and disrupt the operations of NPA in the area, but expose the residents of the area to another impending disaster.
Umar disclosed that the proposed project is capable of undermining a lot of NPA operations in the area which include the pilotage district located at the Dockyard, the activities of the NPA joint venture known as the Continental Shipyard Limited and the existing dolphin used for ship anchorage.
More alarming , according to the worried NPA staff, was that the proposed project is capable of blocking the navigational channel of about 1.5km which may lead to possible collision of vessels and the NPA tug boats using the channel.

‘’If NIPCO is allowed to go ahead with her obnoxious intention, the navigational channel of about 1.5km will be blocked and any attempt to deck vessels and NPA Tug boats shall lead to collision with the pipe and of course there will be explosion, fire and spillage of products,” he said.
Umar disclosed that NPA workers, the Apapa community and the Ijora settlement which is the host of the proposed project and the Lagos state government are not disposed to the project for the obvious danger it portends to the environment and the people.
‘’We all know the hazard and the danger of indiscriminate citing of tank farms has done to the Apapa residents, we have severally in the past spoke against the citing of these tank farms at the port due to the inherent danger but government would not listen. We are living witnesses to the pockets of explosions witnessed from these tank farms in recent times and to allow NIPCO cite another one at the busy Dockyard will be a disaster in the waiting,’’ Umar declared.
NIPCO has an existing tank farm at the Dockyard while the controversial proposed project is meant to expand the existing facility.

However, the NPA workers said they had to cry out for intervention on the matter in view of the obvious powerful power brokers who are said to be pushing the project despite its unpopularity with the Apapa community.
‘’But it is obvious that the management members are under pressure to accept the proposal despite their conviction against it because they do not want to lose their job,’’ Umar disclosed.
The workers therefore warned NIPCO management to halt the planned laying of the pipeline or risk the wrath of the workers.
”If they (NIPCO) go ahead with the controversial project without due process, that will be an illegality and illegality begets illegality,’’ he said.
He therefore asked the service company to look for a grren field like Oando did at Takwa Bay for its project if it must carry it out and establish its tank farm at the places like Ogogoro village or Snake Island.

‘’The government should make it a point of duty for investors to invest genuinely and not to struggle for existing structure that are of greater importance to Nigerian economy like Dockyard, Apapa.
‘’We the entire members of SSACTAC, maritime will not fold our arms and allow corrupt government officials who are colluding with NIPCO to short change the entire Nigerians and sabotage government efforts at developing the maritime sector,’’ Comrade Umar concluded.
All efforts to get NIPCO to react to the workers’ allegation and threat proved abortive as our reporter was not allowed into the premises and email sent through the company’s website was not replied as at press time.
There have been several agitations of late on the safety of the various tank farms sited in various parts of Apapa.

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