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NPA may probe destruction of floating dock

There are strong indications that the Managing Director (MD) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman may have directed for immediate probe into…

There are strong indications that the Managing Director (MD) of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman may have directed for immediate probe into the alleged destruction of a floating dock and slipway belonging to the agency by the Lagos channel management.
Though, NPA in a joint agreement handed over its floating dock worth over N2b to the Lagos Channel Management, it was discovered that the slipway was not part of the agreement.
Staff of NPA seconded to the Lagos Channel Management, who do not wish to be named, had demanded, among other things, when the NPA MD visited, an immediate review of all existing contracts between the Federal Government and the Management of Lagos Channel.
They also demanded for immediate Investigations into the destruction of a floating dock and slipway property of NPA.
The over 30 staff made this request when NPA MD paid a surprise visit to NPA shipyard in Apapa, last Thursday.
They alleged that the dock alone can cater for over 1000 workers while the slipway would also absolve about 500 others if operational.
The workers who expressed their anger over the way NPA property is being destroyed by the Lagos Channel Management, said a tower crane attached to the slipway crashed killing two persons in the process.
“The floating dock is the only property which NPA handed over to the Lagos Channel Management. The slipway is not part of the agreement reached but in 2010 when they took over the running of the Shipyard, the management, without notifying NPA took over the slipway.
“It was the way they were using the floating dock the led to its destruction” they said.
Usman advised the staff to articulate their point and send same to NPA Headquarters for further action.
“I want to thank you for your patriotic stance. I would appreciate it if you will articulate your position and send same to my office. I assure you that I will look into it. Be rest assured that we will investigate all the allegations and those found wanting would be made to face the full weight of the law” she said.”
Similarly, Hadiza Bala Usman insisted that NPA will continue to collect its tariffs for its services in United States Dollars, as it has obligations that are also made in US dollars.
Usman while responding to a call by shipping and maritime stakeholders on the NPA to stop charging in dollars, the managing director said since the Authority has obligations that are also in US dollars, it would be very difficult for to accept payments in naira.
Shipping and maritime industry stakeholders, including terminal operators who converged at an industry forum organized by the NPA on Friday in Lagos called on the organisation to stop charging tariffs in dollars and begin accepting naira, which is the country’s legal tender, as this was making them pay so much and putting pressure on their dwindling earnings, in view of the current economic condition of the country.
They also insisted that NPA review its contractual agreements with the port terminal operators, stressing that the review ought to be done every two years.
“We have obligations that are also in US dollars, so it is very difficult for us to accept payments in naira. We noted the concern of foreign exchange right now. We know the country, but we are also mindful of our own obligations,” said Usman.
She maintained that in its drive to recover debts from operators, the NPA would continue discussing with them and ensure that indebtedness in dollars to NPA are paid within the shortest period.

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