Maritime Workers score Buhari low on port access roads
... Ask Tinubu to appoint only technocrats head agencies
By Ray Ugochukwu
The nation’s maritime workers have carpeted the outgoing administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on its abysmal handling of port access roads, especially those in Apapa, Lagos.
Speaking for the workers on Thursday in Lagos, was the President General of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, who said the state of the roads leading to Apapa ports was quite appalling and “a slap” on the face of the outgoing administration.
Adeyanju, who spoke at the monthly Roundtable of the Maritime Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), wondered how a government could not fix the port access roads in eight years of its regime.
“It’s unfortunate that for eight years the outgoing administration could not do something on the port access roads despite the hues and cries of stakeholders”, the MWUN boss lamented.
He cited the Mile Two – Tin Can axis as an eyesore, noting that the highway had been taken over by artisans and food vendors, who he said, did all manner of things on the road due to lack of monitoring.
He said, “Look at the Mile Two – Tin Can road, though it has been completed but has been taken over by artisans and miscreants who do all manner of things there.
“They construct two-bedroom apartments on the road. In the mornings, you see school children in uniform coming out from such places and heading to school.
“There’s no monitoring of any sort; Nigerian Ports Authority is not doing anything to curtail the abuse on the highway. Though it’s a federal road but NPA has the responsibility of ensuring free movement of vehicles and people on it”.
He also deplored the state of the road leading to the Onne Port in Rivers State, saying it could take a traveler a whole day to commute between Port Harcourt and the sea port.
Congested port access road
However, Adeyanju, who is the Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), expressed optimism that the incoming administration should intervene to right the wrongs in the system.
His optimism was hinged on the fact that the incoming President is a democrat and activist, who he believed should see things from the people’s perspectives.
“Let’s hope that the incoming President, who is a democrat and an activist, should do something about the roads”, he stated.
On the general clamour for a separate ministry for maritime activities, the labour leader said what mattered was efficiency in governance and not the proliferation of establishments.
According to him, “even if you create a new ministry for maritime and it’s still business as usual, nothing will change”
He charged the incoming Tinubu-led regime to seriously consider appointing only technocrats to head the maritime agencies for efficient service delivery.
Adeyanju cited example with developments in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), where he noted how a career officer, Dr Bashir Jamoh, who rose through the ranks to be appointed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), was doing exploits.
Again, the Oyo State born prince, charged the incoming regime to decentralise port operations in Lagos by making the eastern ports more functional so that people could easily use any of the ports there to bring in and ship out goods.
The President charged the authorities to begin to shift attention to Port Harcourt, Onne, Warri, Calabar and Warri ports as a way of bringing shipping closer to the people.
Comrade Adeyanju, who said that was the only way to go, faulted the establishment of the Lekki Deep Seaport where it was presently, asking if government would demolish the houses and other structures surrounding the place.