By DAPO OLAWUNI
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has accused the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mohammed Bello-Koko of playing unnecessary politics with the collapsed quay apron of the Tin Can Island Port at the detriment of Nigerian economy.
Chairman of NAGAFF at Tin Can Port Chapter, Fwrd.Emeka Chigozie in a press statement on Tuesday alleged that the NPA Managing Director attached so much importance to lesser projects like; renovation of NPA offices, perimeter fencing of the ports, unnecessary travels, hosting meetings, among others.
DAILY TREND recalls that in February 2023, Bello Koko had said that the rehabilitation of Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports in Lagos, including Onne port in Rivers State and Calabar port in Cross River State would required about $800 million.
The NPA MD said that the money would either come in as a loan or the agency will fund the rehabilitation project which will lead to a reduction of it’s contribution into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
Fwrd Chigozie has however expressed total dissatisfaction and embarrassment at the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the NPA boss towards Tin Can Island port.
The Chairman also alleged that Bello-Koko is wasting government funds in renovating NPA offices instead of attending to pressing needs like the dilapidated quay apron of the Tin Can Port in order to avoid diversions of ships to neighboring ports.
The NAGAFF Chairman lamented that himself and his members recently lost a full load of container ship which was diverted to another port due to inability to berth at Tin Can Port.
According to him, this has been a re-occurring decimal in recent times because the federal government was paying lip service to port renovation, he said government is only interested in collecting revenue.
“Tin Can Island and Apapa ports are among the best container ports that generate Billions of Naira on a monthly bases for Federal Government through the government agencies inside the ports like Nigerian Customs Service (NCS)”.
“The most vital part of the port is collapsing and NPD MD is spending billions of Naira on port perimeter fencing. In June 2022, he requested for $600million for reconstruction of Tin Can Island port. In April 2023, he increased it to $800 million. How did he arrived at that figure?
“Is it the government that didn’t approve $600 million that will now approve $800 million for reconstruction? It obvious that Federal Government is politicizing with Tin Can Island port.
“The same MD that says there is no money, spent billions of Naira to host security meeting at Eko hotel last month. These are outside series of overseas work visits” he said