Stakeholders lament indiscriminate parking of petroleum tankers at Calabar EPZ
• Task Buhari on dredging scheme
THE Controversy surrounding the dredging of Calabar Port Channel and indiscriminate parking of petroleum tankers along the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) has continued unabated.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders on Monday reiterated the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate thoroughly all transactions surrounding the dredging of the ports’ water channel.
They explained that due to alleged inadequate dredging, their investments were at the point of going under.
But, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has dismissed the allegation, adding “It should be emphasized here that at every stage, the management ensured that both the contract and the payment are guided by strict compliance to due process.”
A senior staff of one of the firm operating at the port who spoke with The Guardian on condition of anonymity via telephone on Monday reiterated the need for what he described as “thorough investigation” of the dredging activities.
The staff, who claimed to be speaking on behalf of stakeholders said: “I want the Federal Government to investigate independently. The issues are there. There is no need to hide anything. Let’s do things properly. That is the only way the port can function properly. The port is viable. The market is there. So, what is the problem?”
Explaining further, the source said if adequately positioned, the port could boost business activities in the zone; create numerous employments for Nigerians and more revenue for the Federal Government through the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The source also used the opportunity to advise traffic agencies along the axis to put in place measures aimed curtailing the indiscriminate parking of petroleum tankers along EPZ.
NPA in an advertised statement titled “Calabar Channel Dredging Campaign-Setting the records straight”, said all transactions followed due process.
The statement said: “It should be pointed out here that the NPA Project Resident Hydrographic Surveyor and technical auditors on the project were actually on board the dredger during the campaign and payment was effected only after they verified that what was presented tallies with the work done and in accordance with the Joint Venture (JV) agreement.
“It is also pertinent to note that this is the standard operational and certification of payment procedure that are applied for other Channel Management companies under the Authority.
“Therefore, that the processes and procedures for such payments have not been in any way compromised.
“It should be emphasized here that at every stage, the management ensured that both the contract and the payment are guided by strict compliance to due process”
President of the Nigerian Shippers Association (NSA), Cross Rivers Chapter, Mike Ogodo, was quoted recently as saying he had some years ago warned against the construction of tank farms along the axis.
He called on the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade to find lasting solution to the problem in the interest of all stakeholders.