Nigeria’s quest to attain hub status in maritime and ports operations in West and Central Africa could be attained with sustained efforts of the Ports Standing Task Team (PSTT) which helps guarantee free access to the nation’s seaports and an efficient port environment.
The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime made this assertion yesterday while accompanying the PSTT officials and journalists on a tour of Lagos port corridors.
According to Jime, Nigeria’s objective towards attaining hub ports status within the sub-region wouldn’t be realized if access to the seaports remain chaotic and the port corridors ridden with shanties and kiosks.
His words: “I think that this activity of PSTT must be sustained to guarantee free access to the ports. Unless we can attain hitch-free port environment with easy access to the ports, there’s no way the country can achieve its dream to be the West African hub of maritime and ports operations.”
Jime, however, revealed that the members of the PSTT have been working under tremendous pressure with several life threats but commended the officials because they have remained very firm.
“As their supervisors, we are dedicated to providing them the enabling environment to continue to do their task. We want sustainability and during my time as Executive Secretary of NSC, they will continue to rely on me to support them in whatever we possible.”
“I want to use this platform to the PSTT and offer encomiums to the state actors which include; Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Police Force and other agencies involved that have supported PSTT. This modest success is proof that if people are sincere and patriotic in the execution of a mandate, anything can be achieved. So, we are very optimistic to be part of this effort.”
Noting that challenges confronting truck movement in and out of Apapa ports have been addressed, the NSC boss posited that the next phase of PSTT activities will be to address traffic outbound Apapa via the Mile-2 road.
Jime expressed delight that the journey, which started about three months ago with people unconvinced owing to the fact that several similar efforts in the past failed, has turned out to be a successful venture, labeling the activities of PSTT as “progressing fantastically”.
Also speaking during the tour, the Coordinator of PSTT, Mr. Moses Fadipe said when the task team started, it was like a nightmare.
He lamented that despite the group’s efforts, non-state actors such as local government officials still use the roads as an avenue to collect tolls.
“These are people that will just put on reflexive jackets and start using the port corridor to collect fees. We have educated them on the reasons they shouldn’t be on the road to collect tolls. If they continue to show apathy to the instructions, we will arrest and push them to the concerned security agency for prosecution,” Fadipe said.