- STOAN Chairman, Princess Vicky Haastrup
By Anthony Nwachukwu
Claims by a former Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Kayode Opeifa, that the poor utilisation of rail line at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa is caused by terminal operators is a “baseless, libelous and highly misleading allegation” since the terminal operators are not in charge of train services.
Refuting Opeifa’s claim, the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), stated: “For the avoidance of doubt, terminal operators are not responsible for operating the train service in and out of the port.
“Terminal operators are also sufficiently equipped to discharge and load all the ships, barges, trains and trucks that come to the port. We therefore urge the port community to disregard the lies and mischievous claims credited to Opeifa.”
According to STOAN, Opeifa has lost touch with reality in the port system since last year when the Federal Government disbanded the activities of the committee on traffic management, which he worked with, following several complaints of inefficiency and alleged extortion by truck drivers.
“The truth is that Opeifa knows nothing about port operation or what is happening in the port,” the association continued. “He is not a port or shipping expert. The only brief contact he had with the port was when he worked with a committee set up by the Federal Government to clear the gridlock on the port access road.
“That committee was dissolved over a year ago by the government after several complaints of gross inefficiency and allegations of massive corruption leveled against it by truck drivers.
“How can Opeifa who is not a port operator or port user, and who has not been to the port in over a year even as a passer-by, now lay claim to knowing what is happening in the port?
“By the way, the committee set up to succeed the one Opeifa served in is doing a much better and professional job. Traffic management on the port access roads has improved tremendously under the present committee than under the Opeifa committee.
“We advise Opeifa to mind his business and not use his relevance-seeking propaganda to discredit terminal operators who are working very hard and making significant investments in the port.
“He should not remind us of his poor and sub-optimal performance as Vice Chairman of the defunct Apapa traffic management task team.”