STRIKE ENTERS DAY 2: Despite FG’s Intervention, Agents, Truckers Continue Strike Today    

The Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman in company of stakeholders during the assessment of Apapa  Ports access roads yesterday.

...As NPA Takes Over Reonstruction of Apapa-Oshodi, Wharf Roads 

Even though the Federal Government through the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Shippers’Council yesterday assured that a construction company would be deployed to begin reconstruction of the failed portion of the  Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in the next two weeks, clearing agents and truck owners operating at the seaports have failed to call-off their indefinite strike.At the end of an extended stakeholders meeting with the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman and Executive Secretary of Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, in Apapa yesterday, Publicity Secretary of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Dr. Kayode Farinto said the agents will not call off the strike until immediate measures to fix the roads are put in place.Farinto said until construction equipment are rolled out to the dilapidated portions of the road, clearing agents would not back down on the strike action.He said, "The strike continues, we will not call off the until immediate measures to fix the roads are put in place and the CGC of Customs, Hameed Ali is ready to address  other challenges militating against cargo clearance apart from the problem of bad roads."After conducting physical inspection of the dilapidated Tin Can Island Port and Coconut axis of the Apapa-oshod expressway, the NPA boss had informed the stakeholders that NPA was taking over reconstruction of the roads from the Federal Ministry of Power Works and Housing.She said NPA has also make provision for the construction of the road in its 2017 budget. She noted that the Wharf road alone would gulp N4.3billion and it would be jointly funded by NPA, Dangote Group and Flour Mills Nigeria.Both companies are providing N2.5billion under CSR for wharf road Constitution.However on the Tin Can Island and Coconut axis, Hadiza said that only N7 billion was approved for the reconstruction in the 2017 budget.On the Creek Road and Liverpool axis, she said this would be solely funded by NPA and that Ministry of Works has agreed to provide the final engineering designs to the NPA.Hadiza said it was shocking to discover that the reconstruction of the dilapidated access roads were not included in the 2017 budget. She noted that only N7 billion was included in the budget for the Tin Can Port roads alone.She described the deplorable port access road as a huge embarrassment to the country considering the revenue generated from the port."The roads are under the purview of the Federal Ministry of Powers, Works and Housing. We have held several meetings with the ministry and we have come to an agreement that the NPA will jointly fund for the reconstruction of these roads. "The ministry will be submitting to the Federal Executive Council at Wednesday (tomorrow) meeting to seek council's approval to embark on the reconstruction of wharf road. "We believe that these roads are priority to us. So, we have identified budgetary heads for them and we are going to budgets for them in spite of the fact that they are not under our purview. So we are commencing with that""The NPA will provide funding for the wharf road in conjunction with the two bodies," she said.She said the reconstruction work would be carried out within 10 months.According to her, the width of the roads will be 12 metres with full utilities deployed and will have a life span of 30 years when completed."It is going to be a concrete road that will have a lifespan of 30 years. The project we commence within this month. We are going to sign an agreement with the Federal Ministry of Works, Dangote and Flour mills on the implementation of the project and they have confirmed that the reconstruction will be embarked upon for 10 months period so we believe that this wharf road will be able to reach conclusion within this year”, she said.On the construction of holding bays for trucks, the NPA boss said the authority will engage the service of a private company to develop and manage the holding bays.On his part, Executive Secretary of Shippers Council, Barrister Hassan Bello appealed to the agents to shelve the strike and go back to work. He assured that the council would now hold regular engagements with the stakehokders to address all challenges before thry snowball into crisis.The stakeholders’ meeting was also attended by member of House Committee on Port Harbours and Waterways and former chairman of Apapa Local Government, Hon. Ayodeji Joseph.