The House of Representatives has begun investigation into infrastructural decay at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos, leading to the loss of N600bn revenue monthly.
The House urged the Nigeria Ports Authority and other relevant Federal Government agencies to “as a matter of urgency” repair the quay wall and apron at Tin Can Island port (RORO terminals) under the concession agreement to save the terminal.”
Also, the House mandated the Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation to “immediately convene a stakeholders’ consultative meeting to find a lasting solution to the gridlock on the Apapa and Tin Can Island access road.”
The probe by the House was based on the unanimous adoption of a motion sponsored by Mr Benjamin Bem at the plenary on Wednesday, titled ‘Loss of Over N600bn Monthly Revenue from Apapa Gridlock/Congestion and the Dilapidated Terminal Infrastructure in Some Terminals.’
Moving the motion, Bem said, “The House is worried that the collapse of the quay wall (retaining wall) and the apron area of the terminal, which has the length of 438 meters, could lead to closure of the only terminal that receives vehicle cargos from across the world into Nigeria being closed and loss of huge revenue accruable to government and loss of jobs to many Nigerians.
“The House is further worried that the RORO Tin Can Island terminal alone provides over 500 direct job opportunities to Nigerians and over 3,000 indirect employment to auxiliary business individuals and corporate bodies around the terminal.
“At the height of rising indices of unemployment in Nigeria, urgent measure must be taken by the NPA, Bureau of Public Enterprises and other relevant government agencies to fix the decaying infrastructure in and around the Apapa terminals.
“The House is disturbed that the poor state of the quay wall/apron at Tin Can Island Port complex constitute a major threat to the survival of the entire port, as it may collapse at any moment if an urgent step is not taken to arrest the ugly trend.”
“The House is convinced that Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos are the gateway to Nigeria’s economy with huge accruable revenue and they employ thousands of its citizens. The collapse of the quay wall/apron and subsequent closure of the port will render millions jobless and further cripple economics activities in and around the port in particular and Nigeria in general.”
Bem recalled that the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports were concessioned to private operators under the Federal Govemment Port Reforms and Modernisation Policy for efficiency and cost reduction. He added that the process was done through privatisation by the Bureau of Public Enterprise in 2006.
The lawmaker noted that on November 29, 2019, when the Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation paid an oversight visit to some parts of the Tin Can Island port, like the RORO terminal container handler, the committee “found some damaged parts of the transition slabs (cable duct) as a consequence of the sand erosion from underneath the apron’s deck due to the collapse of the quay wall.”
He stated that it was the responsibility of Federal Government, through the NPA, to fix the affected parts.