MD NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman

The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, has made good its earlier threats by closing down three illegal private jetties as well as uncertified barge operations, which it considered unseaworthy and therefore dangerous.

This follows increasing reports of abuse of process in the operation of these private jetties and barge operators, which do not conform to international best practice. Recall that the Managing Director of the Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman had recently during a virtual meeting with Maritime Editors disclosed that NPA would sanitise barge operations in the country with a view to ensuring safety and professionalism.

According to a statement signed by the Assistant General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications unit, Ibrahim Nasir, the decision to axe the jetty and barge operators was sequel to the establishment of an inter-agency committee to monitor the activities of the private jetty and barge operators.

The committee is made up of representatives of the NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, National Inland Waterways Authority NIWA and the Lagos State Inland Waterways Authority LASWA.

“The committee is spearheading the clearing of the waterways of lay-by barges and tugboats along Ibeji/Ilashe axis and as far as the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal and Mile Two Bridge, as well as the removal of wrongly anchored barges that are obstructing visibility along the Kirikiri channel”, the statement also said.

While soliciting the cooperation of stakeholders towards ensuring that barge operations are executed according to laid down regulations and Standard Operating Procedures SOPs, the committee expressed its commitment to sustaining the current tempo of enforcement until operators totally comply with all laid down regulations.

“To this end, regular patrol of waterways will be carried out and sustained,” the statement also assured.