- Fashola says Nigeria needs N100bn to reconstruct Apapa road
The Port Manager, Rivers Port Complex, Mr. A. G. Umar has paid a courtesy visit to the Port Service Comptroller of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Mr. Umar Dachia, as efforts to consolidate on existing understanding intensifies in Rivers State.
Specifically, the Port Manager observed that since he assumed office, he was yet to received a single complain of delay on ship clearance from shipping agents, which according to him, shows that NIMASA recognizes the issue of trade relationship and its statutory responsibility.
The Port Manager who identified some of the major challenges faced by the Port as piracy attack also noted it as an immediate responsibility of NIMASA, in term of ensuring safety and security on the water ways.
Umar highlighted the importance of security patrol on the water way as it gives ship owners the confidence of doing business in the Port without having the fear of being attacked.
“The attack on ship is a serious issue that affects the patronage of the Port” he highlighted, adding that another issue of concern was the change of status of shipping company by NIMASA, hence his advice that such changes should be intimated to him, because as the head of the Port, it was necessary to be on the know, sighting an instance where a vessel that has been cleared was later detained without information.
Reiterating “the fact that as sister agencies representing our organization’s value, we will not play with safety and any other thing that has to do with risk” he pointed out, assuring that the Authority would always be around to sustain cordial relationships.
In his response, his NIMASA counterpart, Umar Dachia said he saw the visit as a sign of respect for the agency, even as he explained that the agency was doing its best, in terms of security, recalling that some years back, a Memorandum of Understanding was entered into with the Global West Vessel Services; and another one with the Navy; and both responded whenever called upon.
He also noted that the contract with Global West had been terminated.
“It is clear we are all striving towards the same goal and the guidance and assistance of the Port is highly needed’’, Dachia indicated, promising to reinforce the presence of his men on the vital areas so as to ensure their proactive and timely responses, including timely dissemination of information, whenever there is change in documentation as it covers ship clearance and Operations.
Amongst those present during the visit were the Head Labour NIMASA Udoka Ogbonna; the DMSO NIMASA, Eniregbo Ibeawuchi A; the NIMASA Secretary Taye Emokhare; Chief Port Public Affairs Officer, E. M. Asinobi (Mrs.); R- Port Security Officer, Arogundade; and Makanjuola Terlingua who represented the Traffic Manager.
In the meantime, the design and other requirements needed for the reconstruction of the Apapa road in Lagos State are ready, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said.
He also reiterated that the Apapa area was a priority to the Federal Government under the ministry’s programme to solve the issue of roads leading to critical ports in the country, adding that the amount needed to reconstruct the road was N100bn.
Fashola also stated that arrangements for the deployment of an enduring solution in Wharf Road, also in Lagos, were nearing completion, adding that a couple of private companies had offered to work with the government to fix the road.
The Special Adviser to the Minister on Communications, Mr. Hakeem Bello, said in a statement on Sunday that Fashola disclosed this at a retreat in Abuja, where he noted that what was left on the Apapa road was to sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding before proceeding to the Federal Executive Council for approval.
The minister was quoted as saying, “I just want to appeal to residents of Apapa and to people whose livelihood depends on Apapa, that Apapa is one of the priority roads under our priority of works to solve roads that lead to critical ports.
“We also have Calabar on our radar. But one by one, there will be an enduring solution. We’ve done the design, we’ve done everything for Apapa; it is ready. It is going to be a concrete road, I believe, that will last another 30 years. So, we are close to starting work.”
Fashola, according to the statement, was certain that work would start on the road in a couple of weeks, and pointed out that irrespective of the fact that the funds of the companies offering to support the project were private money, there had to be some transparency on how to move ahead.
Additional report from Punch