- This exercise is organised to query and to determine why some of our Port Complexes have continued to operate below their setting-up capacities. It,also, seeks to question why ,in spite of the many efforts of Government over the years, which have come by way of building more Port Complexes ,concession ing and the complete involvement of the Private Sector in some aspects of operation in our nation’s maritime sub-sector,the congestion in the Lagos Port Complexes in Apapa and Tin Can Island still persists. What this means is that about five Inland Port Complexes in Warri,Delta State,in Calabar,Cross River State,in Onitsha, Anambra State and in Port Harcourt as well as in Onne,Rivers State ,have all failed to provide alternative or even consummate services to aid the decongestion of the two Lagos Port Complexes.
3.Faced with the grim reality of the above and worried by the increasing loss of man-hours and the untold hardship, with its resultant loss of revenue,that business owners, commuters,shipping and haulage companies suffer in some parts of Lagos as a result of the hydra-headed monster called traffic gridlock arising from congestion in the two Port Complexes, the House of Representatives via the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, July 18,2019,resolved to set up this Ad Hoc Committee. 4.As expected once formed,this Committee hit the ground running by undertaking all the needful and inviting you all,who we understand, are the critical stakeholders in our nation’s maritime industry. It is our belief and utmost conviction that if we must deliver on the mandate given to the Committee by the House, you all must be involved to help and proffer solutions to what has not only become a dangerous reality of everyday life in the commercial capital city of Lagos,but has also become a national embarrassment for international visitors and users of the Lagos Port Complexes! Dangerous and Embarrassing? Yes! Or how else does one describe a situation that has defied the efforts of a State like Lagos and has the capacity to lock down the commercial city completely, while encouraging the activities of criminal elements and touts and compelling, ultimately, the attention of the nation’s President, who had responded by setting up a Presidential Task Team? 5.Your Excellencies,ladies and gentlemen, let me,therefore, on behalf of the Rt.Hon.Speaker,the entire leadership of the House of Representatives and,indeed, the members of this Committee, thank you all for answering this call to service. I wish to assure you that,having come to be part of the solution to this national problem crying for urgent attention,your sacrifice for national progress has been noted and will never be in vain. As you all know,the invitation that was sent to you had requested that you furnish this Committee with information in soft and hard copies about a week ago. It is our hope that we all have complied with that requirement. 6.Going forward,we had also requested that all invited Organisations, Institutions and Groups be represented by their heads. The reason for the above is not farfetched. While we may not by that request wish to question the competency or capacity of any of your staff to represent your Organisations, it goes without saying that there is a limit to what such a member of staff can say or do in this kind of situation as against what the Chief Executive Officer can say or do. In insisting on this ,we have,as it were,sought to ensure that all presentations here have emanated from the highest level of corporate responsibility and authority of each of your Organisations. I,therefore, call on you to interact freely with us ,knowing full well that the essence of this Public Hearing is never to apportion blame or to indict anyone ,but to identify ways and means to redress a systemic wrong that is costing the nation time and other enormous resources. 7.Following from that,and as you may well know,Parliaments everywhere in the world enjoy certain privileges ,rights and protection. Whatever we say and,to an extent,what we do here,for instance, can hardly be used against us anywhere. Consequent upon this,I invite you to be open and frank in all your presentations. Give us the benefit of what you know and think can be deployed into solving the challenge at hand. Already,on our own as Nigerians and lawmakers, we have heard and read what every concerned Nigerian knows about the situation in our Port Complexes;all of those being in the public domain,but we would be relying on you,our noble stakeholders in the maritime game,to point for us the way forward in all of these. 8.Once again, Your Excellencies, Honourable colleagues, Chief Executive Officers of various Organisations, Institutions and Groups in the maritime industry across the country, members of the Press,distinguished ladies and gentlemen,on behalf of myself and members of this Committee, I usher us into the business of the day to find solutions that are aimed at making the Inland Port Complexes work at their full capacities and help to decongest the Lagos Port Complexes in order to give a new lease of life to all those who have constant reasons to visit Apapa and the areas around Tin Can Island in Lagos. 9.Thank you;and may God bless you all. Signed Hon.Yusuf BUBA Yakub Member representing Gombi/Hong Federal Constituency is Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee to Determine Why the Warri ,Port Harcourt, Calabar,Onne and Onitsha Inland Port Complexes are Not Being Put to Maximum Use.