From left: President Senior Staff Association of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Comrade Benson Adegbeyeni, Executive Director, Finance and Admin. NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of the authority, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman,  President General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN; Comrade Waheed Adeyanju and President NPA branch, MWUN, Comrade Ifeanyi Mazeli shortly after a meeting on with the management at the Marina, Lagos headquarters of NPA recently.

The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA has offered to undertake the rehabilitation of the dilapidated port access roads in Lagos, as part of frantic efforts to convince striking port workers to suspend its strike action, which commenced Monday to protest the poor state of port access roads in Lagos.

The estimated cost of the proposed projects has been put at N4.3 billion, which is going to be funded through a synergy and partnership with the Dangote Group.

Dangote is to contribute the sum N2.5 billion as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility CSR while the NPA would provide the remaining sum of N1.8 billion.

Meanwhile, there are plans to commence minor palliative works on the roads while the processes and documentations for the approval are being concluded.

It was however not clear whether the striking workers have decided to suspend the strike action, which has left activities at the nation’s seaports, terminals and bonded warehouses paralysed, an indication that the strike may enter the third day Wednesday.

Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, who made the commitment after a meeting with the workers, which culminated in a tour of the port access roads within the Lagos pilotage district. said that the decision to rehabilitate the roads was in line with efforts to achieve efficient and cost effective trade facilitation at the ports in Lagos.

The MD of NPA met with the workers and toured the affected roads in company of the Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, both of who persuaded the workers to suspend the strike.

She assured the stakeholders that the management was concluding plans to get approval from the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing for the funding of the projects comprising Wharf Road, Creek Road, Tin Can Island Access Road, Cocoanut bus top area, Mile 2-Apapa Road and the Oshodi/Oworonshoki Expressway.

It was further gathered in addition to seeking the approval of the relevant Ministry over the construction, the NPA in conjunction with the Nigerian Shippers Council has also petitioned the Presidential Committee on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria headed by Vice PresidentYemi Osinbajo, as part of efforts to seek a permanent solution to the problem of dilapidated port access roads.

The NPA –boss also said that in addition to reducing cost of doing business and enhancing efficiency and productivity, the repair of the roads would boost the revenue base of not only the Federal Government, but also the NPA.

This would also make the seaports conform to international best practices in terms of what is expected to make the nation’s seaports a hub for countries within the Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We are reengineering the roads for business to thrive; we just need to get it done. This is critical to us. The immediate palliatives would be carried out on the roads whilst the main project of reconstructing the roads would follow accordingly”, she said emphatically.

It was however gathered that the construction would cover a length of 12 metres with full utilities in the area of drainage for a life span of 30 years, even as  the construction work is expected to last for 10 months all things being equal.

Investigations also showed that all the parties to the construction project are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding MoU, would be signed by all parties within the next two weeks which would be followed by the construction work proper.

Usman equally assured the stakeholders of the management’s immediate plans to have a holding bay which will aid efficient service delivery at Western Ports.

Meanwhile, the CEO of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr. Bello who was part on the tour of some of the bad port access roads reinstated his appeal to the agents to suspend the strike.

Bello commended the practitioners for their patience over the bad state of the roads.

He assured the agents and truckers that the agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transport are committed to revamping the roads as part of efforts to make the seaports efficient and competitive.