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Controversy trails collapse of port infrastructure at Rivers Port

NPA says Berth 8 collapsed •No, we demolished it —BUA

From right: Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Sabiu Zakari; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside and Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, during the 2016 World Maritime Day, in Lagos, recently.

There is a seeming controversy trailing the fate that befell the Berth 8 section of the Rivers Ports Complex located inside Terminal B, a section under the purview of BUA Ports and Terminals Limited. This is even as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the terminal operator have disagreed on what befell the Berth, years after it went down.

It will be recalled that when the Senate Committee on Marine Transport visited the Rivers Ports Complex on oversight function recently, the General Manager, Eastern Ports, Abdullahi Goje described the Berth 8 section inside terminal B as a collapsed point.

Concurring to Goje’s view, a senior management staff of the Rivers Ports Complex who declined not to have his name in print in an exclusive chat with the Nigerian Tribune explained that the terminal operator has not been serious about maintaining infrastructures inside its terminal.

According to him, “if you go inside BUA Terminals, the collapsed Berth 8 is yet to be re-constructed by them. That Berth has collapsed almost 6 to 8 years ago, but the terminal operator has not re-constructed it.

“If you rent a shop from me for business purposes and a section of the shop becomes bad afterwards, doesn’t the onus fall on you to repair it since it’s a property that is fetching you money? We are talking of a Landlord-Tenant agreement in a business setting.

“There are nine Berths at the Rivers Ports Complex and they are divided into two terminals namely Terminals A and B. We have two concessionaires operating the Rivers ports, they are Messrs Ports and Terminal Operators Limited (PTOL) who controls Berths 1-4; while Berths 5-8 was concessioned to Messrs BUA Ports and Terminal Limited.

“Berth 8 under BUA Ports and Terminals Limited has collapsed for more than 6 years now and the terminal operator is yet to re-construct it, yet business is going on as if nothing has happened. This is not fair on the use of government properties.

“Is it until all the berths collapse that the terminal operator will look at re-constructing them? How can people handle government property this way? A property that was ceded to you to use and make money in such state and noting is been done over the years. It’s pathetic.”

When the Nigerian Tribune cornered the General Manager of BUA Ports and Terminal Limited who simply identified himself as Mr. Ibrahim, he denied that the Berth 8 section of the port collapsed.

In his words, “I have photographs to back our argument that Berth 8 did not collapse but was demolished. We demolished Berth 8 for re-construction. We have photograpgh of Julius Berger helping us with the demolition.

“Berth 8 is not a failed portion. It did not collapse. We started the demolition last year and it’s completed. We are now waiting for Julius Berger to mobilise back for the re-construction of the Berth 8.”