At last, NPA flags off implementation of minimum standards for trucks


…Says it is not responsible for reconstruction of port access roads

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Thursday flagged off the implementation of the minimum standard for trucks operating in the Western ports.

It will be recalled that the event which was postponed twice namely; from the 1st of March to 21st March 2016 and from the 21st of March to 31st of March 2016was said to be at the instance of the truck owners who pleaded for more time to enable them put their trucks in order.

Also recall that the Coalition of Port Dry Cargo Transport Operators (CPDCTO), which is a conglomeration of more than five trucking associations after series of peaceful protests against the N10, 000 entry permit sticker, withdrew their service for some hours on Monday, 21st of March but have to call off the action on noticing the NPA was not going ahead with the enforcement earlier scheduled for that day.

The flag off which commenced with the inspection of two of the registered trucks assembled at the Lagos Port Complex gate by the Managing Director of the NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi witnessed a large turnout of Policemen, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officials, Vehicle Inspection Officers, NPA Security and some maritime stakeholders.

Speaking at the end of the inspection exercise, the Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi who expressed satisfaction with what he saw said that the exercise was to ensure that the lives of the citizens within and outside the port premises were safe and secure adding that the authority had been inundated with stories of containers falling down and killing innocent citizens which called for concern.

Abdullahi stated that in line with the international standard, the authority felt it was its responsibility to ensure that all vehicles, trucks that navigate into the ports were safe and secure and were maintained as it was done in all other ports across the country.

“The implication of this is that we have a safe and free environment, free of accidents hopefully and free of any encumbrances that will occur not only in the port premises but even outside the port premises. This is to ensure that all vehicle accessing the ports operates within standards so as to ensure that people are safe and secure”, he said.

On the N10, 000 entry permit fee, he said,” Against what people are saying, it is just N10, 000 per annum because wherever you are, you are supposed to at least make sure that the administrative costs are covered. In fact, from the information available to the public, we are even subsidizing what are spending on this.

Fielding questions from journalists on the sideline of the event, the NPA boss disclosed that reconstruction of the port access roads was not the responsibility of the NPA but that of the Federal Government of Nigeria adding that the government at all level should be praised since they were doing their best to fix the roads.

“Access road is not my responsibility, it is not the responsibility of the Nigerian Ports Authority and I think we should praise the federal government because they are doing the best they could do, the Federal Government, the state government even the local government, they are doing their best to see that all the roads are repaired”, he said.

On extortion, he said,” If there is any extortion, they have not reported to me. I only see it on the pages of the newspapers and other media. You don’t even talk of extortion, if there is any extortion, get the name of the officer who extort you, then come directly to me, my telephone number is very free, everybody has it. We have name tags on all our security officers, report the person to me and see what we will do to the person”.

Earlier in his welcome speech, the General Manager Western Ports, Chief Michael Ajayi enumerated the 4 objectives which the exercise set out to achieve to include; that it will afford the NPA the opportunity of data collection for traffic/infrastructure planning purpose, facilitate identification of every truck through the database to prevent sharp practices like theft and diversion of cargoes, serve as a security measure to prevent any threat or security breach to the port in compliance with the ISPS Code and serve as platform to ensure minimum standard for truck entering the port in compliance with the international safety standards.

Ajayi informed that information concerning the registration number, ownership address and annual sticker number issued would be made available on NPA portal to advice terminal operators and clearing agents on trucks that are cleared to access the ports.

According to him,” Sir, following the constant threat and danger that rickety trucks constitute to public safety, we are determined to ensure enforcement of the minimum standards of trucks.

“Permit me to inform you sir, that in spite of some resistance to the payment of the sum of N10, 000.00 by some truck associations, we have received tremendous encouragement from the Corporate Fleet Owners who have done their certification and paid the required fee.

“So far, over two thousand trucks including those belonging to Fleet Owners, Terminal Operators such as Greenview Development Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Dangote Group, ENL, Flour Mills of Nigeria and others have met the minimum standard and consequently certified by NPA safety officers working in conjunction with the Lagos State Vehicle Traffic Division”.

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