By DAPO OLAWUNI
Investigations by DAILY TREND has confirmed that some private jetties which were operating illegally along Kirikiri Waterways of the Tin Can Island Port of Lagos were shut down on Monday by the Presidential Standing Committee on Private Jetties (PSCPJ)
Our correspondent reliably gathered that the operation would be continuing today, Tuesday 26th of April as the PSCPJ committee continue to raid non-compliant jetties.
However, when he was contacted by DAILY TREND for confirmation, the Task Force Committee Chairman Cdre. Kwetishe Godfrey Enoch declined comments, he pleaded that all questions should be directed to the Ministry of Transportation.
Recall that in January 2022, the Committee presented a report and compendium of private jetties in Nigeria to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Ameachi, even as the Minister noted in the report that, there are several jetties operating illegally across the country.
Amaechi, while receiving the report promised that the report be summarised and presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for every minister to have a copy.
“Thank you for your hard work but you need to do more because from your report, there are illegal jetties and no jetty should exist without the Federal Government’s authorisation,” Amaechi had said
Meanwhile, an official of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Tin Can Island Port, and Chief Port Safety Officer, Eng Adesona Adekunle Samuel told DAILY TREND exclusively that some of the affected jetties were shutdown due to non-compliance with safety rules set out by the authority.
Speaking particularly about one of the affected jetties called Jaykys Jetty, Eng Adesona stated that several letters were written to owners of the jetty to shutdown the jetty and comply with safety rules but they never did.
“As a safety man, we went there (Jaykys) and discovered that they have not been compliant with safety rules, so we wrote to the management twice, demanding that the place should be shutdown and they should not allow any activities to go on at the jetty”
“Management had to follow due protocol, so another Committee was set up, they were sent to the jetty and they saw all the report we had written”
“Ours is to go to the jetty and check their safety compliance level, and when we know that they are not safety compliant with most of the jobs being carried out there, and we are particular about safety of properties, safety of human lives.
“We wrote our report based on our job and the management has taken its decision” he said
When our correspondent contacted landlord of the Jaykys Jetty, Sir Henry Muogho, he argued that his jetty has been licensed to operate by the Presidential Standing Committee on Private Jetties.
He however said he was not aware that his jetty has been shutdown.
According to him, he had concessioned out the jetty to a company called; MEDLOG Logistics Nigeria Limited, an arm of MSC Shipping Nigeria Limited, and that his tenants have not informed him of any such developments.
“I am not informed that my jetty was shutdown, it has been on lease to MEDLOG, for what reasons it was shutdown by the Presidential Committee, I have no idea, until my tenants inform me, then I would know what happened”
“As it is today, we got rumors that jetties were shutdown, MEDLOG and MSC Shipping who are using the jetty have not told me anything, as soon as they get back to me, we would approach the government.
But as at today, I have not been informed officially.
When probed further about claims by NPA that letters were written twice for the jetty to be shutdown, Sir Muogho confirmed that the jetty is yet to be completed and licensed by the NPA.
“We got the letters but we don’t know whether it is due to non-compliance or non-completion of the jetty, we are not sure, NPA has written us before, because the jetty has not been completed, and as a result, we do not have NPA license, I wouldn’t know if it was for that reason they shutdown the jetty, until the tenants using the place get back to me” he said
Efforts to get reactions from Managing Director of MSC Shipping Nigeria, owners of Medlog Logistics Nigeria Limited, Mr Andrew Lynch proved abortive as at time of filing this report.
All calls and message sent to his phone and WhatsApp messages were not responded to.
Recall that in February 2022, the Nigerian Importers Integrity Association (NIIA) has called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and other relevant agencies including the Nigeria Customs Service, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to halt the activities of unregulated private jetties and oil service centres that have converted their facilities to container terminal
The President of the association, Godwin Onyekazi, said some private jetties operating on the Kirikiri channel and oil service facilities now engage in handling containers.
He said, “Hundreds of empty containers are loaded from unlicensed jetties on the Kirikiri channel onto big barges which then discharge these containers in neighboring countries. It is not clear who licensed these barge operators and the jetties, if these barges and jetties are registered with all relevant authorities and finally if they are paying the statutory dues to NPA and all other governmental agencies”.
“This trend is dangerous, as it poses serious economic and security implications for Nigeria. Who licensed the jetties as container terminals? Who is monitoring their activities? Nigeria is so volatile now that we cannot afford this sort of lapses in our port operation.
“Unscrupulous persons try to beat the various economic and security checks put in place at the main ports where all the security agencies are present. Can you then imagine what will be happening in jetties that do not have strong regulatory and security mechanisms? This not to talk of the safety aspect, which is totally neglected,” he said.