The House of Representatives has started an inquiry into the infrastructural decay at two Lagos ports – Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports – resulting in the loss of about N600 billion every month.
The investigation was premised on the unanimous adoption of a motion sponsored at the Wednesday plenary by Mr Benjamin Bem and titled “Loss of over N600 billion Monthly Revenue from Apapa Gridlock/Congestion and the Dilapidated Terminal Infrastructure in some Terminals.”
Bem stated, “The House is worried that the collapse of the quay wall (retaining wall) and the apron area of the terminal, which has the length of 438 meters, could lead to closure of the only terminal that receives vehicle cargos from across the world into Nigeria being closed and loss of huge revenue accruable to government and loss of jobs to many Nigerians.
“The House is further worried that the RORO Tin Can Island terminal alone provides over 500 direct job opportunities to Nigerians and over 3,000 indirect employment to auxiliary business individuals and corporate bodies around the terminal.
“At the height of rising indices of unemployment in Nigeria, urgent measure must be taken by the NPA, Bureau of Public Enterprises and other relevant government agencies to fix the decaying infrastructure in and around the Apapa terminals.
“The House is disturbed that the poor state of the quay wall/apron at Tin Can Island Port complex constitute a major threat to the survival of the entire port, as it may collapse at any moment if urgent step is not taken to arrest the ugly trend.”
“The House is convinced that Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos are the gateway to Nigeria’s economy with huge accruable revenue and they employ thousands of its citizens. The collapse of the quay wall/apron and subsequent closure of the port will render millions jobless and further cripple economics activities in and around the port in particular and Nigeria in general.”
The lawmaker noted that the two ports had been concessioned to private operators under the Federal Government Port Reforms and Modernisation Policy on account of efficiency and cost reduction. The process was undertaken through privatisation by the Bureau of Public Enterprise in 2006, Mr Bem said.
He went further to disclose that during the oversight visit of the Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation to some parts of Tin Can Island Port like the RORO terminal container handler on 29 November, 2019, some damaged parts of the transition slabs (cable duct were discovered as a result of the sand erosion from below the apron’s deck owing to the collapse of the quay wall.
Bem affirmed that the onus of repairing the affected part lie on the Federal Government through the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
In a similar development, the House directed the Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation to “immediately convene a stakeholders’ consultative meeting to find a lasting solution to the gridlock on the Apapa and Tin Can Island access road.”
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