The 14-man ad hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate “why Warri, PortHarcourt, Onne, Calabar and Onitsha Inland ports complexes are not being put to maximum use” will between September 15-25, 2019 visit the port complexes and conduct public hearings.
The first leg of the committee’s itinerary will commence on Monday, September 16, 2019 with a visit to Apapa and Tin Can Island, Lagos ports. The committee will be in Warri on Tuesday, September 17. Between September 18-19, the committee will visit PortHarcourt and Onne ports. From there they will move to Calabar on September 20. The committee will end its tour in Onitsha between September 23-24 with a visit to Inland port and conduct public hearing.
It will be recalled that following a motion sponsored by Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi on Thursday, July 18, 2019, the House of Representatives had set up the ad hoc committee with Hon. Baba Yusuf Yakub as its Chairman. Other members of the committee are Hon. Ifeanyi Ibezi, Hon. Makama Missau Ibrahim, Hon. Onuh Blessing Onyeche, Hon. Haruna Maitala, Hon. Victor Amela, Hon. Nuhu Yakubu Danja, Hon. Aliyu Ibrahim Almustapha, Hon. Alex Egbona, Hon. Akiolu Moshood Kayode, Hon. Kolade Victor Akinjo, Hon. Olayide Adewale Akinremi, Hon. Kalu Benjamin Okezie and Hon. Suny Goli Isreal.
Hon. Ibezi’s motion sought to restore the full use of Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Onitsha Inland ports in order to decongest Apapa and Tin Can Island ports. It was seconded by Hon. Ali Adeyemi from Lagos State. Presenting his motion during the plenary session of the House, Ibezi noted that “there are six major sea ports in Nigeria namely the Lagos port complex (Apapa), Tin Can, the Calabar port, the Warri port, Port Harcourt port, Onne and the Onitsha Inland port”. He further noted that most of these ports have capacity to accommodate ocean liners but at the moment only the Lagos port complexes are operating at near full capacity for exportation and importation of goods while the other ports are almost lying fallow. He said that it is not economically and socially expedient, and even in terms of the security of the nation, to concentrate all ports activities of a nation as big and diverse as Nigeria in one geographic area, adding that the continued concentration of all ports activities at the Apapa and Tin Can complexes has resulted in congestion of the two ports such that it now takes a truck with an authority to load (ATL) between seven to nine days to go in and out of the ports with the loads; a process that used to take a maximum of three hours.
The situation, he said, is worsened by the dilapidation of the 20 Km Apapa Wharf road due to the numerous container-laden articulated vehicles that ply the road daily to evacuate containers of goods.
He is convinced that reviving the existing ports at Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Onitsha Inland port will require political will and strong policy initiatives and doing this will significantly increase government revenue profile, enhance export/import businesses and reduce the undue pressure on the Apapa and Tin Can ports complexes.
The ad-hoc committee is expected to report back within six weeks with its findings for further legislative action.