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Reps, Stakeholders Decry Ports Infrastructural Decay, Insecurity, Poor Regulation

Abuja – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday disclosed that the priority of the 9th House is to get the nation’s ports working to attract jobs creation and Direct Foreign Investment FDI into the country.
Gbajabiamila stated this on Thursday while declaring open a public hearing organised by the House Adhoc Committee to Determine Why the Warri, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Onne and Onitsha Inland ports complexes are not being put to maximal use.
The Speaker who was represented by House Deputy Leader, Hon. Peter Akpatason explained that getting these ports working would make the world know that the country is open for business.
To this regard, he called on stakeholders and all present at the hearing to extensively deliberate on way forward to activate these ports.
On his part, chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Mr Buba Yakub noted that “worries by the increasing loss of man-hours and the untold hardship, with its resultant loss of revenue, that business owners, commuters, shipping and haulage companies suffer in some parts of Lagos as a result of the hydra-headed monster called traffic gridlock arising from congestion in the two Port Complexes necessitated the House to resolve to set up this ad-hoc committee”.
Yakub while enjoining stakeholders to be fully involved in deliberation charged them saying “Give us the benefit of what you know and think can be deployed into solving the challenge at hand. Already, on our own as Nigerians and lawmakers, we have heard and read what every concerned Nigerian knows about the situation in our Port Complexes; all of those being in the public domain, but we would be relying on you, our noble stakeholders in the maritime game, to point for us the way forward in all of these”.
At the event, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas who was represented by Rear Adm Abraham Adaji pointed out that narrow channels of the Eastern ports, unmarked vessels under water largely causes ship wreck. He also said that long abandoned infrastructure and other challenges are bedeviling the maximal utilisation of the ports.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Mr Sabin Zakari noted that multiple charges by some agencies is the cause of low patronage of these ports.
Zakari therefore recommended sufficient funding and cooperation between major stakeholders and security agencies in other to make the maritime environment conducive for business.
Other maritime stakeholders that were present at the hearing include Nigeria Shippers Council, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigeria Ports Authority, Intel, the Nigerian Navy among other


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