February 29, 2024

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Tin Can Island port too porous, says NPA MD

NPA raises alarm on increasing extortion along port access roads

Tin Can Island port too porous, says NPA MD

 The Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko has described the Tin Can Port Complex, Nigeria’s second busiest port after Apapa port as too porous, a situation which he said has given rise to pilfering, stealing and vandalization of containers at the port.

Bello-Koko, however, said that the management is moving to upgrade the Authority’s security architecture at the port with a view to put an end to such criminal acts.

He noted that the wire gauze perimeter fence installed as a means of preventing unauthorized access in line with the International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code recommendation, have been pulled down, hence much stronger wall of protection must be put in place to keep people who do not have any business having access to the complex.

Bello-Koko who spoke on Thursday when he led senior officials of the Authority on a spot assessment visit to the Tin Can Island Port, said upon a thorough security assessment, the management would be left with no alternative than to use prefab wall fencing, since the wire gauze type could not stand the test of time in view of how it was easily damaged.

He said the visit has availed the management an opportunity to evaluate where the access control gate should be mounted out of the three entry gates into the complex, adding that the Authority, working with the relevant authorities would move to fast track the necessary public procurement processes.

The NPA MD who also visited the Sunrise Bus Stop area of the Apapa – Mile 2 highway which had become a failed passage, noted that the poor road situation within the corridor remains a huge concern to the Authority.

He observed that some of the internal roads within the Port Complex are in a state of disrepair, but assured that the Authority, in collaboration with other relevant agencies of Government and the National Assembly, would mobilize resources as soon as possible to fix such roads.

Bello-Koko decried a situation whereby it takes several hours for a truck to access the ports because of the failed portions of the internal port roads, citing several instances where container laden trucks fell while trying to maneuver, a development, which he said is clearly unacceptable.

“We have pleaded with Hi-tech, the contractor handling the Apapa-Mile 2 highway, to ensure that the Sunrise Bus Stop end of the road is worked on speedily, even if it is palliatives to make it passable, that is why we are here. You can see that the Tin Can end of the road is now clear, that is the result of the collaboration between NPA and the Lagos State Government because we are working together to ensure that trucks that are not meant to be here are not here.

“We want to consolidate on this and consistently ensure that trucks that do business at the ports, picking and dropping of containers, do so without encumbrances. We also came here to look at the port environment, we noticed that the wire gauze fencing had been pulled down by people and we have done the risk assessment. The best thing for us is to consider prefab fences, which we believe will do the work on a sustainable basis”, he said.

On the deployment of the electronic call up system, code named “Eto”, he noted that the system is yet to be effective in the Tin Can Port corridor, due to the poor state of the access road, as well as some failed roads within the Port, which reinforces the urgent need to fix the infrastructure as soon as possible.

He disclosed that the platform manager has been given up to the end of June to live up to his game in terms of deploying the necessary assets and human resources, to complement the reconstruction of the roads by government.

On port automation, he stated that the Authority had directed all the terminal operators and shipping companies to embrace smart solutions to enhance service delivery, “while many of them are making the right investments, the level of compliance is not where it should be,” he said.

He posits that there is the need for a Port Community System where every stakeholder including the NPA could interface with one another, adding that although it takes significant resources and time to automate, “it is my hope that all segments of the industry would automate their systems to make Port operations timely and less cumbersome,”

On corruption and extortion on the port access roads, he acknowledged that some of the deployed security operatives from the Nigerian Police, LASTMA, Nigerian Armed Forces and NPA Security personnel have been found culpable, stating that strong disciplinary measures in line with public service rules are being taken against these “bag eggs”.


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