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NPA decries failed state of Tin Can Port

Eyewitness reporter
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko led senior officials of the Authority on a spot assessment visit to the TinCan Island Port Complex with a view to resolving all impediments to the smooth flow of traffic and effective security, within and around the complex.

The Managing Director, who also visited the Sunrise Bus Stop area of the Apapa – Mile 2 highway which had become a failed passage, noted that the poor road situation within this corridor (the major artery in and out of the Tin Can Island Port) remains a huge concern to the Authority.

According to the NPA MD, the improved traffic situation along the Tin Can Port approach from what it used to be some months back is one of the positives from the synergy between the NPA and the Lagos State Government (LASG), which deployed the necessary security and equipment needed to check indiscriminate parking on the road as well as an end to the menace of touts and other criminals.

He observed that some of the internal roads within the Port Complex are in a state of disrepair, but assured that the Authority, in concert with other relevant agencies of Government and the National Assembly, would mobilise resources as soon as possible to fix such roads.

Describing the Tin Can Port Complex as too porous, the NPA MD noted that the wire gauze perimeter fence installed as a means of preventing unauthorized access in line with the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code recommendation have been pulled down, thus a much stronger wall of protection must be put in place to keep people who do not have any business having access to the complex.

He disclosed that upon a thorough security assessment, the management would be left with no alternative than to use prefab wall fencing since the wire gauze type could not stand the test of time in view of how it was easily damaged.

The MD further said that the visit has availed the management an opportunity to evaluate where the access control gate should be mounted out of the three entry gates into the complex, adding that the Authority, working with the relevant authorities,  would move to fast track the necessary public procurement processes.

Speaking on the objective of his visit, the NPA Boss said: “We are here because you recall that we met recently with the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and the essence of the visit was to strengthen our partnership with the State Government towards reducing the heavy vehicular congestion, especially in Apapa.

“We also talked about the poor state of the road along the Tin Can Island Port corridor.

“We have pleaded with Hi-tech, the contractor handling the Apapa-Mile 2 highway, to ensure that the Sunrise Bus Stop end of the road is worked on speedily, even if it is palliatives to make it passable, that is why we are here.

“You can see that the Tin Can end of the road is now clear, that is the result of the collaboration between NPA and the Lagos State Government because we’re working together to ensure that trucks that are not meant to be here are not here”

“We want to consolidate on this and consistently ensure that trucks that do business at the ports, picking and dropping off containers, do so without encumbrances.

“We also came here to look at the Port environment, we noticed that the wire gauze fencing had been pulled down by people and we have done the risk assessment. The best thing for us is to consider prefab fences, which we believe will do the work on a sustainable basis”, he said.

Bello stated that there had been reports of pilfering, stealing, and vandalisation of containers, which must not be allowed to continue, insisting that the management is poised to put an end to such criminal acts by moving to upgrade the Authority’s security architecture.

On the internal roads within the Tin Can Island Port, “some of the roads within the Port have failed and it is the responsibility of NPA to fix them.”

“Therefore, we came to look at all these so that we work with the relevant government agencies. We will liaise with the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the National Assembly to mobilize the required resources.
“We will ensure that this is treated as an emergency and as quickly as the procurement process would allow us”, he said.

Bello-Koko decried a situation whereby it takes several hours for a truck to access the Ports because of the failed portions of the internal Port roads, citing several instances where container-laden trucks fell while trying to manoeuvre within the Port, a development that is clearly unacceptable, he said.

On the deployment of the electronic call-up system, code-named”Eto”, he noted that the system is yet to be effective in the Tin Can Port corridor, due to the poor state of the access road, as well as some failed roads within the Port, which reinforces the urgent need to fix these infrastructures as soon as possible.

He however noted that though he is not completely satisfied with the deployment of the “Eto” platform, he disclosed that the platform manager has been given up to the end of June to live up to his game in terms of deploying the necessary assets and human resources, to complement the reconstruction of the roads by government.

On Port automation, he stated that the Authority had directed all the terminal operators and shipping companies to embrace smart solutions to enhance service delivery, “while many of them are making the right investments, the level of compliance is not where it should be, he said.

He posited that there is the need for a Port Community System where every stakeholder including the NPA could interface with one another, adding that although it takes significant resources and time to automate, “it is my hope that all segments of the industry would automate their systems to make Port operations timely and less cumbersome”, Koko admonished.

On corruption and extortion on the Port access roads, he acknowledged that some of the deployed security operatives from the Nigerian Police, LASTMA, Nigerian Armed Forces and NPA Security personnel have been found culpable, while he said strong disciplinary measures in line with public service rules are being taken against these “bag eggs.

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Headlines

IMO tasks Mobereola to sustain NIMASA’s leadership role in regional maritime industry

—– hails his appointment as DG
The Eyewitness Reporter
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has lauded the leadership role of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in the maritime industry within the West African sub-region which it said has stabilized maritime administration in the region.
In his congratulatory letter to Dr. Dayo Mobereola, the new NIMASA DG, the Secretary General of IMO Arsenio Dominguez, observed with satisfaction the collaborative efforts of NIMASA that have brought relative peace to the troubled Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
He therefore charged Mobereola to sustain the tempo of activities that will keep the momentum going in the areas of safety, security and building of strong maritime institutions.
In a conveyance letter personally signed by him, the IMO Secretary-General recognized the strides of the Agency in building a robust maritime sector in Nigeria, adding that the IMO commends the significant effort, initiatives, and investment that Nigeria has made in strengthening its maritime institutions.

In the words of Dominguez, “The focus on strengthening maritime law enforcement and security architecture has been welcomed by seafarers and flag States.

“The Deep Blue project and the C4i Centre as well as maritime piracy laws under the SPOMO Act are just some of the many investments that have set a new gold standard in the region in maritime security capacity building”.

“IMO has long supported the regional role of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct and its Member States in strengthening maritime security and law enforcement.

” In this respect, we have been greatly encouraged with the continuation of this regional ownership with the formation and work of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum and Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GoG-MCF/SHADE) in 2021”.

He commended the Agency’s partnership with the various regional bodies and expressed the readiness of the IMO to work with Nigeria and other member states on many maritime issues with the aim of jointly tackling these issues.

“NIMASA’s partnership with the Interregional Coordination Centre (ICC) and the collaboration with the shipping industry, navies and the Yaoundé architecture has been instrumental in suppressing the threat of piracy to merchant vessels and seafarers in line with UN Security Council resolution 2634 (2022) on piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea and IMO Assembly resolution A.1159 (32)”.

” I look forward to working with you and your colleagues on many of the maritime issues that we are jointly tackling and hope to welcome you in person at the IMO, he said.

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Headlines

Eastern shippers, freight forwarders on collision course with Shippers’ Council over increase in haulage rate

Akutah Pius Ukeyima, ES, NSC
The Eyewitness Reporter
Importers, Exporters and freight forwarders playing their trade in the South East region of the country have rejected the recent 200 percent hike in haulage rate by the Nigerian Shippers’Council.
They described the increase as “outrageous, arbitrary, and unacceptable.”
In a press conference called by the aggrieved shippers in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, they claimed that if the hike was not reversed, it would bring them on a collision course with the Shippers’ Council.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the aggrieved group, Joshua Ahuama, Zonal Coordinator of the Association of Nigerian Customs Licenced Agents (ANLCA), claimed that the rate will not only lead to spiral inflation but also in contravention of the provisions of the NSC Act.
He disclosed that the group shall give the Shippers’Council a seven-day ultimatum to reverse to status quo or face withdrawal of their services at the Eastern ports.
He accused the council of not consulting concerned stakeholders before arriving at the decision, saying consultations are an integral part of the NSC Act.
 “Recently, the NSC approved a 200 percent increment in haulage rate for transport owners and drivers operating under the Maritime Union of Nigeria.
“To this end, importers and freight forwarders associations in the eastern zone have unanimously disputed the new rate because it is outrageous, arbitrary, and unacceptable to all stakeholders in the zone.
“We have, however, resolved to adopt all peaceful efforts. We started this move on March 14 by calling on the NSC to ensure proper stakeholder engagement and renegotiation.

” These measures are also expected to help all parties to reach a benchmark that would be in the interest of all stakeholders in the maritime value chain,” Ahuama noted.

 “We also urge the NSC to return to the status quo by suspending the implementation of the disputed rate, pending proper renegotiation covering the interest of all stakeholders.

“We are not on a selfish course. Our demands are in the interest of Nigerians because any slight increase in the haulage rate will reflect on the prices of goods in the open market.

“A businessman incorporates total logistic costs into the prices of goods.”

However, the group said they might be constrained to take drastic measures, including suspending all declarations of goods and payments of customs duties, which could negatively affect national revenue and economic output.

Some members of the import and export associations present at the meeting included the Nigeria Shippers Association, the Aba International Traders Association, the Ultimate Importers Association, the POP Importers Association, the Nnewi Importers Association, and the Onitsha Importers Association.

However, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council has said that the new approved rate took into consideration the cost, moderation and other cargo transport issues.
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Customs

Performance of Apapa Customs scanning officers excites Comptroller Jaiyeoba

The Eyewitness Reporter
The Area Controller of Apapa command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Comptroller Babajide Jaiyeoba has lauded the uncompromising attitude of the officers of the Non-Intrusive Inspection Technology Unit (NIITU) which he said has been invaluable to the overall success of the command.
Comptroller Jaiyeoba, who was on an unscheduled visit to the scanner site, reminded the officers of the importance of teamwork as a strong basis to sustain the gains of compliance and revenue collection recently recorded by the command.
He thanked Deputy Comptroller Salamatu Atuluku, the Officer in charge of the scanning site and encouraged the unit not to be deterred by complaints coming from persons who were made to pay accurate duties to the government after issuance of demand notices
According to him, no business person who is made to part with money will be happy with officers who refused to compromise the ethics of their job
” The main reason for me coming here is to appreciate you. I may not see you but I have seen your work and I won’t keep quiet about what I have seen about your work.
“You are doing very well. I just want to encourage you to work as a team. If you don’t work as a team, you give room for outsiders to come in and when they come in, they divide you and when they divide you,  achieving success will be very difficult
” Do your work without blemish. Once you keep your arm straight, you can stand before anybody. Your work as a customs officer is to ensure that you do the correct thing
” For those of you doing an intervention in the form of Demand Notice(DN), there is no body who part with money that will be happy with you.
“They will want to play intelligent by hiding somewhere. When you fetch them from their hiding place, they become your enemy. Whatever they write about anybody here will still come down to me and if anybody works well, the onus on me is to defend such a person.
“Just have it at the back of your mind that you owe yourself the duty of doing your work diligently whether anyone comes around as a friend or enemy.
“It is not enough for you to rest. The reward for hard work is more work. These demands require sacrifice so that you can maintain the status” he said.
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