Association Faults Manager’s Claim On Ports’ Utilisation

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The Association of Indigenous Importers and Exporters in
Niger Delta (AIIEND), has faulted a statement by the Port Manager, Port
Harcourt Port, Mr. Oladele Alabi that the Eastern Ports are not under –
utilised.

The Association had also declared as untrue his statement
that it is cheaper to import through the Eastern Ports than the Western ports,
describing the statements as misleading, false and un-true.

The President of the body, Mr. Somiari Prince Halliday made
this remarks while reacting to statements made by the Port Manager during the
visit of the House of Representative Committee on Marine Transports tour to the
port as part of their oversight functions recently.

Mr. Halliday said they are not surprised that such a
statement could come from Mr. Alabi, whom they alleged is happy seeing the
Eastern Ports crumble at the expense of the Western Ports.

According to him, the Port manager should be ashamed of
himself that he is in-charge of a Port without a tug boat nor pilot workers and
even security boat, pilot quarters, access road and other facilities to enhance
terminal operations for vessels to come to the Port, adding that the Port
lacked those facilities that attracts Port users friendly.

He noted that the statement was a calculated attempt to
render Eastern Ports redundant and make the economy boom for the Eastern ports
to depend more on the Western economy.

The Association however noted that the role of the Nigerian
Ports Authority (NPA) is to ensure the operation and function of all ports to
attract importers and Exporters alike, and also frowned over the non-uniformity
of duties and freight charges as some service providers at the Ports charges
higher than others, thereby encouraging Port users to look for where the
charges are low.

The President wondered also that if the operations of the
customs and Excise differs at different ports, and appealed to the new managing
Director of NPA, Alhaji Habibi Abdullahi to ensure that all Nigeria – bound
vessels are distributed equitable across board instead of the congestion at the
Eastern Ports.

The Association however called for the sacking of the Port
Manager of Port Harcourt Port for his inability to revive the Port as other
Ports.

It accused the former managing Director of NPA, Alhaji
Suleiman Umar of reducing the Eastern Ports to mere transit camps instead of
making them work at full capacity despite huge capital and lease fee by
operators, and urged the new management to rise up to the challenges by
ensuring that Eastern Ports work in full capacity.

“Most of the challenges faced in the Eastern ports were not
too difficult to address but were text un-attended because of Politics”.
“Issues such as access roads that are in state of disrepair, proper dredging of
the channels to allow bigger vessels to come in, the inability of NPA
management to rehabilitate Port Harcourt Port and other ports since inception
unlike Lagos Ports that are being rehabilitated on regular basis formed part of
the reasons the Ports in the East have been under- utilized”, Mr. Halliday
said.

The Association further alleged that ports in the East
suffered more redundancy under the administration of Suleiman Omar, despite the
fact that he served last as Port manager in the East before his appointment as
managing Director of NPA two years ago, and pledged their support and loyalty
to the new management.

 

Collins Barasimeye