The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA has pledged to ensure every port player plays by the rule of engagement.
The General Manager, Monitoring and Regulatory Services, Eniola Williams gave the assurance in Lagos, during a tour of the ports, by the Port’s Standing Task Team.
Eniola Williams stressed the fundamental principle of justice, prescribed by Audi alteram partem (meaning: let the other side be heard as well), emphasizing the need to hear out everyone, so as to fully understand who presently clogs or congests the ports.
She cautioned against picking on the terminal Operators, particularly the APM Terminals, on the complex issues of returning empty containers, pointing out that the NPA would leave no stone unturned, to ensure the implementation of its concessional agreement with every Stakeholder.
Some had opined that the APMT was a big elephant, which could not be controlled or moved.
“We have a consensual agreement guiding this relationship.
If we want to talk about empty containers, I would want us to give particular instances, because we have a policy on empty containers now, as they are not supposed to come in directly to the port”, Eniola Williams stated, adding that empty containers now, expectedly go first to the holding bays.
“They are to go to the holding bays, and the holding bays are scattered everywhere”, She indicated, pointing out the determination of NPA, not only to tackle just a unit of the Challenges but to understand the larger picture, so as to deliver a functional system, which was the original idea, Nigeria craves for.
“So it would be helpful if we take this conversation beyond where we are now, which is the vision of the journey we are all travelling towards, which is that of the port that we desire.
She explained that the NPA management had over the time, been looking at how the port system could be made truly functional, in line with global best practices, Stressing that in the pursuit of achieving international standards, in the committee of Maritime nations, the Authority would not be left behind.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani had expressed grave concern, after a truck driver at the Port’s exit gate was caught, offering money, hidden in documents he presented to officials and was scrutinized.
“We just witnessed an incident, and the port task team is looking into it”, Dr. Ajani said, noting that the development was a symbolic pointer to the prevalence of Corruption and the inauguration of the Ports Task Team.
She particularly frowned on what she perceived as an interplay of a willing bribe giver and a happy taker; pointing out that it must be discouraged.
“What we have done today is a symbolic act of the expanded port standing task team, why the agencies are now brought in to help clean up all the abnormalities we are seeing along the port corridor.
“We just witnessed a situation where a driver had some money folded into the document he was going to be presenting to the officers at the gate, which is like the final point of exit to the port.
“The team is already engaging in it.
He told us he voluntarily decides to give people at the gate money, but he also claimed that even if he doesn’t give them money, he is allowed to go.
“This is his own version, but we will look at it; the Team is already working on this because it takes two to tango; the willing giving out and the willing acceptance of aids but whether you are giving or accepting, you are abetting the crime and those are the things we want to fight and stop along our corridors