By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications have emerged that not less than eleven regulatory agencies of the federal government would be operating at the Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos which is billed to commence operations in September 2022.
In his presentation last to the visiting Minister of Transportation, Eng Muazu Jaji Sambo, the Head, Regulatory and Procurement of Lekki Port, Mr Daniel Odibe gave the revelations.
Apart from the regular eight agencies approved, including the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) operating inside the port, the Nigerian Shippers Council and the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) would now be inside the Lekki Deep Seaport.
It would be recalled that in 2011, the Federal Government had pruned down the number of agencies inside the port from 14 to 6. However, two others were later added, even as some have continued to lobby return to the port.
The eleven government agencies listed by Mr Daniel Odibe includes; Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Nigerian Shippers Council, Nigerian Police Force, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
Others are Nigeria Customs Service, Department of State Security, Nigerian Immigration Service, Port Health Services, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA)
Mr Odibe also lauded the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for it’s support towards the Lekki Deep Seaport Project and the role the authority played in the recent berthing of two vessels at the port.
He said “We have had good supports from the NPA, we have their plan for Lekki Port, and we also have a backup plan. On the two vessels that we have received bringing in equipment, the backup plans really worked out so well, so thanks to NPA.
Speaking further, he said “The unique thing about Lekki Port is the provision of scanning devices for non intrusive cargo examination, this would greatly reduce the time spent on examination of cargoes by the customs.
We also plan to automate most of our process.
“We had an engagement with the Director of Rail Services in the ministry and we very happy that an approval has been given for the connection of Lekki Port to the rail lines, we would continue engagement with the ministry and see that this comes to reality, because it is a major part of cargo evacuation that would take a lot of trucks off the roads.
“Temporarily, we would rely on barges to move cargoes from Lekki Deep Seaport to destinations across the country. The port would be a tran-shipment hub, bringing back cargoes that Nigeria has lost to other countries like Lome, Abidjan and so on
“The road from Epe to Eleko junction currently being constructed by the Lagos State Government is 97% completed. With six lanes and a dedicated truck lanes on the road. It is expected to be completed in eighteen months.
“The next phase is from Eleko junction to Ajah, it is already ongoing and we are confident that the road construction will help with cargo evacuation” Odibe said