The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy; Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, has emphasized the urgent need for the rehabilitation of critical infrastructure at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports.
Oyetola stated this following a tour of the Apapa and Tin-Can Island alongside the managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, even as he stressed that immediate action was required to prevent a looming total collapse of port infrastructure.
He called upon terminal operators at the ports to collaborate with the federal government in rehabilitating the deteriorating quays and other essential areas.
The Minister also expressed his concern about the port’s current state and highlighted the importance of ongoing dredging efforts.
Oyetola, while at one of the terminals, also emphasized the need to carry out remedial work on the quay wall promptly and requested a report on the progress made thus far.
He stressed the importance of restructuring and investing in the right infrastructure to revitalize the economy, highlighting the untapped opportunities beyond oil.
Oyetola said he believes that the blue economy is a sector that will generate revenue for government, adding that the country needs the infrastructure to balance up.
“We need infrastructure to drive the Marine and Blue economy, if we have the right infrastructure in place, it will diversify the economy. We rely so much on oil. There are a lot of other opportunities that remained untapped for so many years. I must commend the President for thinking along this line. I believe we can do it”, he stated.
Oyetola also mentioned his intention to engage with the Ministry of Works regarding the rehabilitation of port access roads and discussed plans with the Ministry of Transportation to explore rail-related solutions. He expressed confidence that with these measures in place, positive changes could be expected.
“To avoid the collapse of the port, we need to rehabilitate the port as a matter of urgency and dredging must continue and we can put other things in place. I have gone round to see things for myself. I have been having a ministerial briefing for the last 10 days and I have seen a lot of things such as the challenges and the need to activate a lot of things about our ports.
“Infrastructure is almost collapsing with what I have seen so far, it’s a major rehabilitation that has to be carried out and the dredging has to continue.”
The former governor of Osun state, however, applauded the management of the NPA, saying they needed to be supported to achieve the desired reports.
“I am impressed with the management of the authority, we need to support them and I am looking forward to a situation where the terminal managers will be willing to contribute to the rehabilitation of the ports. It’s important and if they do that, they will make more money for themselves, it should be a collaboration with the terminal and the government.” he said.
“I have discussed with the Minister of Transportation in respect of the rails. With all these things in place, I think we are good to go.
“On issues at the other ports like the eastern one, it will also be addressed. We are looking at the totality of the port,” he said.
On his part, Mr Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director, NPA commended the minister for visiting the port and for supporting the agency.
He assured the minister of the agency’s support in line with the Federal Government’s agenda.