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$1.1bn for Rehabilitation of Nigerian Ports Almost Ready, Says Marine Minister Oyetola

“We want to be able to compete with any port in the world and want to ensure the vessel turnaround time is reduced to four days as opposed to 6-10 days.”

Nigeria’s federal government on Thursday in Lagos announced that the $1.1 billion million required for the rehabilitation of the 100-year-old Tincan Island Port, Apapa Port, and other ports across the country is almost ready.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola disclosed this during the commissioning of seven patrol boats acquired by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for port security.

Oyetola said that the commissioned boats are expected to improve efficiency at Nigerian ports.

“I commend the management of the NPA for taking the initiative to strengthen safety in the maritime space. Security is very important and we need to give it the kind of attention it deserves.

“We cannot be talking of trying to get the full potential of the Blue Economy without strengthening the security of our ports.

“It was deliberate on the part of Mr. President to have created the Marine and Blue Economy ministry. Blue economy had always been there, but not as structured as to generate the kind of revenue a maritime nation like Nigeria should be earning,” Oyetola said.

The minister added part of what the ministry was trying to do was to ensure maritime security as well as accelerate automation of the ports to make them more efficient.

“Again, we are modernising the ports. We want to be able to compete with any port in the world. We want to ensure that the vessel turnaround time is reduced to four days as opposed to about six to 10 days that we currently have.

“We must commend Mr. President for taking the initiative of creating the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and for supporting us all the way.  I can tell you that the fund for the port rehabilitation is almost ready and we are going to commence rehabilitation anytime from now,” he added.

Also speaking, the Managing Director of the NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko said the procurement of the seven security patrol boats was preceded by a robust needs assessment process.

He noted that this was undertaken by a highly experienced team drawn from the agency’s security and marine operations divisions and the vessel management department, who were painstaking and followed through with the product output specification including necessary sea trials.

He added: “This event today is another testament to our commitment to continuous improvement in the journey towards transforming our strategic intent of becoming the maritime logistics hub for sustainable ports services in 

“Enhanced maritime safety, security & compliance to global acceptable standards is one of Nigerian ports authority’s deliverables under the presidential priorities of Federal Government of Nigeria.

“What we are witnessing today is pursuant to achieving these deliverables and aligns with the presidential directives regarding performance of MDAs.”

He said the deployment of these state-of-the-art security patrol boats takes Nigeria a notch higher in its compliance with the dictates of International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) code of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

He highlighted the distinctive features and multiple functionalities of the boats and the game changing effect they bring to bear on security preparedness and capacity to respond to emergent threats are enormous.

“I have chosen to refrain from mentioning those superlatives here because of the security implication of doing so.

“ However, I am especially delighted to say that these security patrol boats position us to achieve our set goal of driving increased vessel traffic to the Eastern Ports of Onne, Rivers, Warri and Calabar Port Complexes where four of the vessels to be commissioned today have been allocated.

“Although Onne Port has in recent witnessed increased vessel traffic, we cannot rest on our laurels. We will continue to push the advocacy and galvanise stakeholder opinion towards growing the fortunes of the Eastern Ports, “he said.

Eromosele Abiodun

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