Operators must respect stevedore coys’ statutory role – Transport Minister

The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, has reiterated that the appointment of stevedore companies to manage dockworkers’ operations at the jetties and offshore/onshore companies is statutory and, therefore, cannot be subjected to the whim and capricesof operators.
Speaking at an interactive forum organised for jetty operators, on/offshore oil companies and stevedore companies at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, last week, Umar emphasised the supervisory role of government and its agencies in achieving the desired result in private jetties operations.
The Minister hinted that private jetties operations will be streamlined for the purpose of collecting benefits for stakeholders and the nation, adding that the Ministry in concert with agencies like the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) are charged with statutory responsibility of granting approval for the operations of jetties, onshore/offshore oil companies and stevedore services.

Acknowledging the crucial role of jetty operators, onshore/offshore oil companies are stevedore companies to the development of the maritime sector and indeed the nation, Umar added that large numbers of Nigerian are employed in the sector, bringing about the much needed economic prosperity and stability in the nation.
The Minister said: “In the recent past, reports of security breaches at private jetties have been received and in view of the current security challenges in the country, the issue cannot be ignored. Let me state that jetties operators are expected to restrict their activities to the approving licences granted them. They are also required to work in concert with relevant security Agencies to ensure compliance with the laws guiding their operations. Anything outside these is bound to attract suspicion and appropriate sanctions.”
Earlier in his opening address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Mr. Nebolisa Emordi, emphasised the need for NIMASA to strengthen the criteria for the registration of stevedore companies and insisted that such criteria and standard are to be followed by all stakeholders since, according to him, laws are meant to be obeyed, adding that government cannot operate in a vacuum.
Contributions, including comments and questions, were taken from the representatives of jetty operators, on/offshore oil companies and stevedores companies at the interactive session.
Present at the meeting, amongst others, were the Director of Maritime Services, Federal Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Musa Nagogo; Managing Director of the NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi; Commissioner of Police, Ports Authority Police Command (PAPC), Mrs. Sherifat Disu Olajoku; and the General Manager, Public Affairs, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu.

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