…Jime says Team’s Success Not Without Dire Consequences***
Phase 11 of the Operation Free The Ports initiative was held in Lagos yesterday.
The initiative is meant to get rid of indiscriminate parking of trucks and tankers along the port corridors.
Flagging off the ceremony, the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki commended the initiative managed by the Ports Standing Task Team (PSTT).
The initiative is expected to sanitize the ports corridors with errant trucks expected to be seized, while shanties are destroyed, beginning from Monday, 27th June 2022.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Maritime Services at the Transport Ministry, Mr. Adams Ofie, the Minister commended all port stakeholders for their roles in ensuring the modest success of the first phase of the operations.
Saraki hinted that efforts would have to be intensified to attain even more success in the new phase of the operation.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime expressed delight at the occasion to flag-off Phase II of “Operation Free the Ports’ Corridors”.
He said that in April this year, he stood in the same venue to welcome participants to the maiden flag-off of the exercise which he was repeating to mark the second phase.
He was excited about the success the PSTT achieved during the first phase.
Jime declared that his delight stemmed from the fact that with dedication, commitment, and necessary will, there is no hindrance to the quest for national development that is unsurmountable, saying that it is not easy to walk the path that the PSTT has been through these past few months.
The NSC boss highlighted that many people had their reservations while others expressed their doubts as to the capability of the task team in successfully clearing the Apapa port complex to the Si-Ijora Road corridor with a view to bringing sanity and ensuring free flow of traffic.
“To be fair to the cynics, we all knew the enormity of the task to be a herculean one.
However, at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, buoyed by the cooperation of other committed stakeholders, we were resolute and dogged in our resolve in contributing to change the narrative,” he stated.
Jime narrated that the team’s success was not without dire consequences including stern resistance, intimidation, threat to lives, and physical assault of operatives, gadgets, and vehicles.
“A case in point was the attack on some personnel of the task team including the National Coordinator where they were assaulted and harassed.
As I stated during my address of welcome at the maiden flag-off ceremony, the whole idea of “Operation Free the Ports’ Corridors” is essentially to rid the ports and Ports’ Corridors of inefficiencies and corrupt practices to enhance the ease-of-doing-business.
Therefore, I would like to reiterate my appeal to everybody or groups that still nurse reservations to kindly see reasons and cooperate to ensure that the Ports Corridors are free for ease of movement and conduct of businesses,” he stated.
Jime averred that the second phase of _the_ operation will cover the Apapa – Tin-Can – Coconut – Berger Yard – Mile 2 – Orile – Ijora axis, noting that the 15.6km road is littered with shanties and trucks parked indiscriminately thereby causing untold hardships to other commuters and creating opportunity for extortions and other forms of corrupt practices by both state and non-state actors.
In his own speech at the event, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde assured that Lagos State will continue to give its blacking to ensure that the corridors of traffic gridlock that has made it difficult to access the ports will be eliminated.
On his part, the National Coordinator of PSTT, Mr. Moses Fadipe stated that “Operation Free the Ports’ Corridors” is the third in the series of activities in monitoring the implementation of the Nigeria Port Process Manual (NPPM).
He called on the supervising ministry to assist in pressing the sister agencies to shoulder some of the financial and logistical responsibilities of the task team as the financial burden is solely on the NSC despite its paucity of income.
He stressed that the intervention of NPA and NIMASA will be greatly appreciated in this regard, adding that the PSTT required more pick-up vans in the fleet to aid the operation more effectively.
The National Coordinator, PSTT, Moses Fadipe, said many industry players, observers, and commentators have acknowledged that its bold step to rid the ports’ corridors of illegal checkpoints and other forms of corrupt practices has yielded tremendous success.
“This is most evident in the sanity established in the movement of traffic in the outbound route of Apapa Port gate to Ijora.
This route which is a distance of about 2.6km was the focus of the task team during the first phase of operations,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Apapa Local Government, Mrs. Idowu Sebanjo, stated that Apapa environs have witnessed a new ambiance of serenity, peace, and orderliness since the PSTT commenced the first phase of its operations.
Noting that residents and business persons in Apapa should be excited about what is going on, she stressed that a lot of people aren’t aware of PSTT and its achievements, hence, the need for more publicity on the campaign.