Few weeks after the startling revelations at the sitting of the Senate Ad Hoc committee which is probing the ministry of transportation, the House of Representatives has flagged-off a comprehensive investigations into the activities of private jetties in Nigeria.
At least two government functionaries, namely the minister of transportation, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke and the Comptroller General of Customs, Alhaji Hamman Bello Ahmed had openly disagreed over the number and the activities of the private jetties.
On the strength of the allegations and counter allegations, the House of Representatives committee on marine transport last weekend arrived in Port Harcourt, Rivers State which reportedly has the second highest number of unregistered jetties to commence what a member of the committee referred to as “a search for the truth”.
Shipping Position Weekly sources confirmed that there are at least 66 private jetties in Lagos, out of which only 12 are registered. Similarly, in Port Harcourt, only 15 out of 55 are registered by the ministry of transportation.
Although, details of how the lawmakers are going to carry out the investigations remain top secret as at press time, our correspondent never –the- less confirmed that the committee’s chairman, Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi had (ahead of the probe) written the managing director, Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA), Mallam Abdusallam Mohammed intimating him about the commencement of investigations.
A copy of the letter which was sighted by Shipping Position Weekly indicates that the exercise will “involve the verification of their operations in line with ISPS code as well as guidelines on jetty development in the country”.
A source who is very close to the committee told our correspondent last week that members were shocked about the contradictions that were contained in the submission of both the minister and the Customs boss when they appeared before the Senate Ad Hoc committee.
“Even though the committee had plans to look into activities of the private jetties, the revelations from the Senate spurred the members into appreciating the depth of the abuse that the jetties were being subjected to”, the source explained.
Fielding questions form the Senate committee, the Customs boss had declared that “the Customs and Excise that I preside over does not know anything about any other private jetty than the one owned by the Ibru conglomerate. My men only man this one; so I cannot talk about others”.
But speaking on the same issue, the Minister had told the same Committee that there were over 50 licensed private jetties in the country and that these have not been adequately manned by the appropriate agencies, notably, the Customs and the military.
She had expressed worries about the revenue that Nigeria was losing, but more importantly, she raised concern over the security implications of having so many unlicensed private jetties.
Nigerian Ports Authority had raised a similar alarm over the activities of private jetties in the