Penultimate week, the Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, handed down a two-week ultimatum to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to come up with an appropriate traffic management strategy for dealing with human and vehicular traffic within and around the ports areas.
Expectedly, the two weeks deadline will expire this week.
While handing down the ultimatum, the Minister had said that human and vehicular traffic in and around the vicinity of the seaports in Lagos were uncontrolled and uncoordinated.
The NPA was equally asked to come up with a workable strategy on how to prevent influx of touts into the ports and an acceptable plan for handling empty containers to take full account of the increased volume of business.
“To address these serious lapses and ensure that the ports operate under healthy atmosphere, the management of the NPA is hereby given two weeks from today, within which to submit to my office the following: An appropriate traffic management strategy for dealing with human and vehicular traffic within and around the ports area.
They must evolve an effective way of controlling and managing the traffic in and around the ports area and to eliminate the present rowdy atmosphere, which is inimical to efficient port operations,” he said.
Umar had explained that the ultimatum is occasioned by the chaotic situation he experienced during an unannounced visit to the Tin-Can Island Port Complex, Apapa, Lagos that fateful Monday, noting that no productive enterprise can take place in such a disordered environment.
The two weeks ultimatum by the Transport Minister, NPA, to sanitise the port environment is too much , because, naturally, the NPA should have that strategy in place.
Monitoring of the port environment solely became the responsibility of NPA since the takeover of cargo handling services by the private terminal operators otherwise called concessionaires.
But if NPA has no plan right now on what to do with human and vehicular traffic at the ports, then certainly something is wrong somewhere. We do not expect the NPA Management to start running around to put the ports and environs in order. If this be the case, it clearly shows a state of total disequilibrium.
We believe that without being told or being given any matching order, the NPA, like a true blue- chip organisation, should have been proactive.
The NPA Management may yet come up with a blueprint, but producing a blueprint is not the final solution, its implementation is all that matters, because proper implementation of the blueprint is key to changing the face of port operations in Nigeria.