Says non utilisation of seaports reason for congestion in Lagos Seaport
To appropriate more funds for Navy in 2021 budget
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–THE Senate on Wednesday appealed to the federal government to consider developing the seaports in the South South,saying non utilisation of the seaports was the major reason for congestion in Lagos Seaport.
This came as it lauded the efforts of the Nigerian Navy to collaborate with private security suppliers in the country’s maritime domain.
The Chairman,Senate Committee on Navy,George Sekibo,who spoke when he led members of the committee on oversight function to the service at its headquarters in Abuja,insisted that it had become necessary for government to utilise other ports in the country with a view to freeing the Lagos Seaport of congestion.
According to him,the development had caused untold hardship to owners of goods he noted,usually find it difficult to get their goods out of the area.
The committee also appealed to the Nigerian Navy to provide effective security in Calabar,Warri and others.
Sekibo,who also regretted the recent kidnap of some persons onboard a ship cargo ship in the country, tasked the Nigerian Navy to redouble its security efforts in the country’s waters even as he noted that the service was doing alot in that regard in spite of the meager resources at its disposal.
He said the committee decided to come for the oversight function to the naval headquarters” to enable us stand for you on the floor of the Senate whenever issues concerning the Nigerian Navy comes upon.”
The commmittee, according to Senator Sekibo,lauded the efforts of the Nigerian Navy on its collaboration with private security suppliers, saying the,”Collaboration with private maritime logistics becomes imperative.”
He said:”You will all recall that among all the ports in Nigeria, Lagos Port seems to be a little bit free of attack,piracy and so on. But other ports in the South South,including the one in Calabar,the one in Port-Harcourt and the one in Warri are not being effectively utilised thereby sending vessel owners to Lagos Port, thus causing congestion there.
“Often times, owners of goods don’t get their goods as and when they are supposed to because of the congestion there.
“We believe that if the security programmes you do in the Lagos Seaport is also transferred to other seaports in the country, it will enhance businesses in the country.”
The committee commended the Nigerian Navy for its security efforts which it said ” have reduced piracy, kidnapping and crude oil theft in the country.”
Regretting that allocation to the service was grossly inadequate, he promised that the Senate would work for increment of the Nigerian Navy budget in the 2021 budget.
“We will ensure more funds are allocated to the Nigerian Navy in subsequent budget.
“Even though you may not have the best to work with,we believe that you are doing your best,” he added.
Earlier in his remark,the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ekwe Ibas,rolled out the scorecard of the service since his assumption of office, particularly in the outgoing year.
He appealed for funding for the Nigerian Navy to carry out its constitutional mandate effectively.