The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has kicked off rehabilitation of the control towers and communications systems at the Apapa and Tin Can Ports today to boost port efficiency.
NPA will take delivery of some sophisticated patrol boats before the end of this year to enhance the level of their security and communications capacity.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman who said this at the Authority’s quarterly stakeholders meeting which held in Apapa Port, Lagos yesterday, said the contract for the repairs of the Control Towers was approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The clarifications by the MD, forms part of NPA management’s interactions with the stakeholders to keep them abreast of the various measures it has been adopting to boost security as well as improve on its communication system capacity at the Ports among other reforms it has been carting out.
Represented by Executive Director, Marine& Operations(M&O) ,Dr Sekonte Davies,who did not disclose the number of the patrol boats and their cost, but said that immediately the NPA takes delivery of the boats, they would be deployed to the Ports for use to check the activities of the miscreants who have been attacking vessels which are berthed at the ports.
A representative of Greenview Nigeria Development Company(GNDL) , the Terminal operating company owned by Dangote Nigeria Limited, had said the attack on the vessels berthed at the company’s facilities has been coming from Ogogoro Island, not too far from the concessionaire’s facilities.
Sekonte Davies however advised Customs Agents and importers to be mindful of who they recommend to represent them at the Ports, saying that some of them could be responsible for some of the attacks on vessels generally.
But corroborating the Apapa and Tin Can Ports Ports Managers, Mrs Funmilayo Olootu and Allhaji Garba Umar who had pointed out in the presentations they earlier made, that they have to a large extent arrested the security situations in their Ports, Sekonte Davies said that the two ports have made some improvements in the level of security and safety of ships and crew at Channels.
The Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NPA , Mr Mohammed Kolo who spoke on the repairs of Control Towers, on behalf of the Managing Director, had said that the rehabilitation will significantly improve all aspects of communications between the vessels coming into Ports and the Harbour Masters among others.
Also, on the poor state of the fenders at the Ports ,Sekonte Davies said that the NPA has ordered for fenders ,adding however that it would endeavour to, in the meantime bring in some fenders which are not in use from the Eastern Ports .
According to him, this became necessary to check underutilization of the Lagos Seaports by foreign ships which are not willing to berth at Channels which have no fenders.
He dislosed that the NPA does not recognize , the facility being referred to as ‘safe anchorage’ within Lagos Waters, where vessels waiting to berth are believed to be anchoring , under the control of a private security company which collects ,$2,000 daily from every vessel, adding that the NPA will take measures to ensure that all vessels are safe on its waters.
The Executive Director M&O said the NPA is working towards ensuring that the maritime sector is developed to become the prime mover of the nation’s economy, like its counterpart in Singapore is to that country’s economy.
He commended the stakeholders for their understanding, following the series of postpone ments of the events, explaining it was because the Managing Director wanted to ensure that she attended the it personally.
According to him, urgent National Assignment prevented her from attending again yesterday, while it was because the NPA management could no longer shift it , that it had to allow it to hold this time..
.The General Manager , Corporate and Strategic Communications of the NPA,Mr Adams Jatto who gave the vote of thanks assured all the stakeholders that the management would try as much as possible to attend to all their genuine complaints ,with a view to ensuring that the Nigerian seaports become more effective , efficient and friendly .