PRESS RELEASE: HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AD HOC COMMITTEE ON EASTERN PORTS VISITS CALABAR PORT, CONDEMNS NIMASA ON THE DELIVERY OF ITS MANDATE,GIVES MATCHING ORDERS TO OTHER AGENCIES OF GOVERNMENT AT THE PORTS TO BE ALIVE TO THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES.

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House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee that seeks to determine why the Eastern Port Complexes of Warri, Calabar,Port Harcourt, Onne and the Inland Port of Onitsha are not being put to maximum use has said that NIMASA has abandoned its statutory responsibility to become a lawless agency that has neither regard for the maritime industry,which it is meant to serve,nor for the Act that established it.

Rising from a meeting with the Management of the Calabar Port and the different stakeholders in the maritime sector in the area,which took place on Friday, members of the Committee condemned what they observed were acts of gross indiscipline and lawlessness in the operations of NIMASA across all the Eastern ports they had visited. The Committee stressed that it was time to take a real look at the Act that set up the Agency.

While noting the continuous non-appearance of NIMASA in almost all its Public Hearings and meetings with stakeholders in the maritime industry in the last one week of the its engagements with the people,the Committee described the agency as a waste of public resources, while threatening to leverage on its legislative powers to compel the agency’s appearance in its future meeting.

Speaking with journalists at the end of the interactions with the stakeholders in the maritime industry at the Calabar port,Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee, Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub, said the problems of the Eastern ports required the efforts and collaboration of all agencies of Government to achieve a lasting solution. He described as unacceptable a situation where all the agencies in the port work at cross purposes, adding that complete synergy was required to make maximum impact.

The Committee also used the occasion to call on all the agencies of Government in the Eastern ports to streamline their charges on cargo for users of their ports in order to encourage patronage and reduce the pressure in the Lagos ports. Members of the Committee also observed and condemned the arbitrary sums paid to agencies of Government at the Eastern ports to carry out what ,they said, were their statutory responsibilities.

In addition to the above, the Committee also mandated security agencies at the Calabar port to ensure that all cases of illegal jetties operated around the port and the occupation of parts of the ports by some unauthorised settlers in the area were decisively dealt with in the next one month,saying that these unfortunate realities around the port constituted a big security threat to the nation. While also promising to avail themselves of the right information from some agencies of Government in Abuja to permanently resolve the issue of an abandoned rig( Delta Queen)that was impeding activities at the port due to what was informed to be an outstanding legal issue,the Committee called for co-operation and support from all stakeholders in the maritime industry in the area in order to ensure a breathe of new life in the Calabar port.

Earlier,while welcoming the Committee to the Calabar port,the Port Manager,Marie E.Asein,informed the Committee of the successes recorded by the port in the first two quarters of 2019 and projected a better year for the port’s revenue in the year 2019 compared to the past years. She,however,itemised such issues as shallow draft,insecurity, low patronage,tortuous channel as well as the destruction of parts of the aids to navigation and poor road infrastructure outside port as some of the drawbacks that greatly limit the operations and viability of the Calabar port.

Nkem Anyata-Lafia
SA to Hon.Buba on Media and Public Affairs.
September 21,2019.

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