“Others have converted all available space for their businesses. It was therefore necessary to act quickly.
“What we’ve done is make sure these areas are safe. They are actually restricted areas; the port itself and the surrounding areas are restricted areas, so we cannot allow these illegalities to continue.
“We have a mandate to ensure that the Ports and their environments are secure. This operation was very successful; many weapons and large quantities of drugs were discovered which were turned over to the security agencies.
“All the illegal trailers parked there were also cleaned up. What we do is clean up the area and make sure that unless you have a license to operate a business there, you shouldn’t be there.
“The Lagos State government has been very cooperative. They also make sure that the right security agencies are involved, so that you find trucks on the move, towing vehicles.
“We found many vehicles parked for so many years serving as storage for weapons, drugs and the rest along the corridor. It is taken over by the Lagos State government; The NPA also takes possession of any land that has been illegally occupied but which belongs to the authority.
We want to make sure that disbelievers and other illegal businesses do not take over these places, ”he said.
Bello-Koko praised the Lagos State government for its massive support over the years.
“Traditionally, this relationship exists. The two ports here account for over 70 percent of the freight entering and leaving the country.
“So because of the national interest and also out of necessity, we had a very good relationship with the Lagos State government.
“When I was appointed, I made sure that this collaboration continued. I had a meeting with the governor who was very supportive of the ETO implementation, the road cleaning, etc.
“There are also collaborations under the Lagos State Government’s Transport Development Plan. We met with a department of the Lagos State government as well as the French Development Authority. We will therefore continue to work with the Lagos State government.
He also spoke of other partnerships aimed at strengthening port operations and fulfilling the NPA’s mandate.
“We met French development authorities which are more like private investors supported by the French government.
“They are looking for areas of collaboration to improve investment and business in Africa. What we are looking for is investment in port development by some of these agencies.
“Our main areas of collaboration include port infrastructure, maritime equipment which we all know is very expensive.
“We are also considering sharing capacity development with some of the partners.
“The Minister of Transport has also worked with NPA to ensure the renewal of ports here.
“Some of the ports here are reaching the end of their life; some are over 80 years old, so they need reconstruction that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
“So there are discussions between NPA, terminal operators and some of these development partners on how this can be structured with the right financial model.
“Perhaps, I should also remind you that all the ports operating here are operating well beyond their built capacity. The size of these ports is not going to increase, we can only improve their capacity and that is what we are trying to do.
“Cities have caught up with ports, so expansion at this point is impossible. The best we can do is improve the existing facilities, ”he said. ( NOPE)
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