Ensure Smooth Operations At Port—Minister Charges NPA Board 

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Board which was inaugurated Thursday by the Minister of Transportation, Hon Chibuike Amaechi, have been charged  to ensure smooth operations at the ports.

The Board has Akin Anderson Ricketts as its Chairman, and other board members are; Mohammed Koko; Onari Brown; Sen. Binki Garba; Sen. John Udoidighe; Abdullwahab Adeshina; Ghazali Mohammed;  Mustapha Aminu Dutse; and Prof. Idris Abubakar.

Speaking at the inauguration, Amaechi urged the new board not to run a parallel management, stating that as a Board, their duty was to make policies while the management executes them.

“It is important you work with the management. It is important you realize you are not the management, you are a board”, he said.

Commenting on the Coronavirus pandemic, the Minister said, “We are in unusual times but we can’t afford to shut our seaports. The activities must continue so that the trade can take place so that the people can feed.”

He further directed the board to fashion out ways on how to move forward with the issues of trade facilitation and seaport management.

Chief Ricketts who spoke on behalf of the newly inaugurated board, noted that the eastern corridor seaports are underutilized and must be made to function optimally.

He also indicated that the intractable congestion at the Lagos ports must be dealt with as a priority challenge, and pledged the board’s full cooperation to enable the NPA deal with the challenges.

According to him, “The major issues confronting our ports today are capacity utilisation and evacuation corridors. While the ports in the East are being grossly underutilized due to many factors, the efficiency of the ports in Lagos is hampered by inadequate evacuation corridors that lead to congestion on the road, which ultimately affects prompt service delivery.

“This is a challenge that we intend to confront head-on in conjunction with other stakeholders, with a view to ameliorating the sufferings of port users and ease business in the port, as envisaged by the Federal Government” he promised.

Furthermore, he said, “We are sure that NPA would have its share of challenges and issues that need to be resolved or need immediate attention. We will do that in conjunction with the Management and all relevant stakeholders. We will ensure that we give every issue and matter that comes to our attention the consideration it deserves and deal with it fairly and objectively, without favour or ill will” the Chairman assured.

Chief Rickets also promised synergy and effective oversight of the NPA without  constituting itself into an alternative management.

“We will create an atmosphere where employees would be given the opportunity to air their views and express dissent on any policy or action they feel strong about. And we will ensure that measures are emplaced so that this process is not unduly abused. 

“We will ensure that feedback mechanisms are in place from our major stakeholders and port users, so that we improve on service delivery, efficiency and capacity” he said.

The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA Board was also inaugurated with Honourable Asita as Chairman; Bashir Jimoh Director-General; Victor Ochei, Exec. Director (Cabotage); Chudi Offordile, Exec. Director (Admin. & Finance); Shehu Ahmed Exec. Director (Operations); Adekola Adefemi, Member; Muhammed D. Abubakar Member; and Hassan Rasq Mahmud, Member.

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