Intermodalism is panacea to Apapa gridlock, says MD NPA

L-R Senator Isiaka Adeleke; Senator Clifford A.M. Ordia; Senator Ighoyota Amori (Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Marine Transport),Managing Director ,Nigerian Ports Authority,Malam Habib Abdullahi; Senator Ahmed Rufai Sani (Chairman Senate Committee on Marine Transport ) and Barr.Hassan Bello, Executive Sectary Nigerian Shippers' Council in  a group photograph at the Stakeholders dialogue

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mallam Habib Abdullahi has said that the provision of adequate rail lines connecting the ports with major cities in Nigeria remains a major panacea to the perennial gridlock problem in Apapa area of Lagos State.

In a statement on Wednesday in Lagos by the General Manager, Public Affairs of the NPA, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu, the managing director  made the assertion while speaking at a stakeholder’s forum with the Senate Committee on Marine, held at the Eko Hotels and suites Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday.

He said the NPA was the most affected organisation in the Industry and therefore, was eager to see that permanent solution was proffered to the problem.

The Managing Director recalled that the rail lines which used to convey cargoes from the ports to other parts of the country no longer functioned, adding that the resuscitation of the services would further reduce the hardship being faced by commuters and other stakeholders.

According to him, transportation of petroleum products by rail from the ports to the North, particularly Kano, which he witnessed as a youth no longer existed and therefore called on the relevant Authorities to rise up to the challenge.

While pledging the NPA’s readiness to complement efforts of  the other agencies whose responsibilities it is to provide the needed facilities, he suggested that petroleum products  be piped from the ports to other destinations if the pipelines were also made right.

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee and former Governor of Zamfara State, Senator Yerima Ahmed Sani, said the committee embarked on the exercise as a result of the resolutions passed by the Senate expressing concern over the gridlock.

 He said the committee would not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that the problem of gridlock in Apapa was solved.

Having gone on inspection tour of the 400 capacity truck bay opposite Tin Can Island second gate, the Chairman added that the sum of N1.5 billion which the government had yet to pay the contractor was said to be the cause of the delay in the completion of the project.

 He, however, said that the appropriate agency had been contacted to bring forward the matter for settlement. 

 Sani called on all stakeholders to come up with suggestions on how best to combat the menace, pointing out that whatever affected the efficiency of the port operations affected the nation’s economy.

Highlights of the meeting were presentations by various stakeholders which include the Nigerian maritime Administration and Safety Agency, [NIMASA] Nigerian Ports Authority[NPA], the Nigerian Shippers’ Council,[NSC], Nigerian Navy, The Police, Federal Ministry of Works, the Association of Maritime Trucks Owners[AMATO]amongst others.

In his comment, the Acting Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Mallam Haruna Jauro among other opinions, said the problem was  enormous to the extent that workers of the organisation sometimes did not go back home after the day’s job.

Present at the occasion were representatives of the Inspector General of Police, Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr Fatai Owoseni; Chairman Association of Maritime Truck Owners, Chief Remi Ogungbemi and the Commandant, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), AIG Chris Olakpe (Rtd.).