Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) has finally broken its silence over the controversial removal of wrecks on the nation’s navigable channel, especially, access into the nation’s seaports.
Managing Director of the agency, Malam Abdul Salam Mohammed declared last week in Lagos that it is only interested in the safety of the Lagos Channel, with the removal of all identified wrecks, irrespective of which government agency does the job.
A sister agency, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has taken it upon itself to take up the responsibility for wrecks removal since 2007.
But, speaking in an interactive session with members of the house committee on Marine Transport in Lagos last week, the NPA boss agreed that there was need to remove all the wrecks and derelicts that are considered to be critical to the operations of the organisation in the Lagos channel.
The Managing Director explained that as far as the Authority was concerned, there was the need to remove to wrecks for the purpose of the safety of the channel and its capital dredging.
He explained that going by WRECKS established NPA, especially section 48 of it, the responsibility of wreck removal rest squarely with the organization, adding that the Authority is willing to partnerwith any government agency to achieve the same objective, if mandated with such powers.
“Our position is that irrespective of who does it, we want the wrecks removed. But as users of the channel, we are better suited to know which wreck is most critical to our operation “, he added.
According to him, there is duplication of functions among agencies in the maritime sector. He consequently appealed to the lawmakers to intervene through appropriate legislations.
“We have so many agencies performing similar responsibilities and the sooner we harmonies such responsibilities the better for the country, because if you have multiple agencies performing similar responsibilities, none can do it optimally.