By Anthony Nwachukwu
Surprised at the sudden restoration of sanity on the access roads and inside the Apapa Port during the recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, has tasked seaport terminal operators to contribute to the total overhaul of the Apapa port.
Amaechi recalled that while in the train with the President that day, he “noticed that everything had disappeared, even inside the port that looked like a market place was very well organised, no persons were found loitering about, no trucks.
“What it shows is that the problem of the seaport is the problem of efficiency. If they had the capacity in just one night (I was there the previous evening, and when I came back in the morning everything had disappeared), it means the problem is management, nothing else.”
To that end, he said he has met with the terminal operators and told them to contribute to the reconstruction of the Apapa port, taking mindful of everything that is now frustrating the facility, like truck parks, number of trucks coming to the port, and the time.
He added: “How can a person who has no business being there come into the seaport? What is he doing at there? The seaport is a security area and it is not for everybody. Even me, after my tenure as minister, I am not entitled to go into the seaport unless I have business in there.”
He assured that he would partner the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to solve the problem, while cargo freighting by rail will eventually help to address the situation.
“We are going to partner the customs because they are largely involved,” he said. “I believe that when we begin to freight cargoes from the seaport through the rail, we will reduce some of the challenges that we have at the seaport.”