Reps investigate Lagos ports ‘time-bomb’

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At long last, Nigeria’s Federal legislators may have waded into the matter of ensuring that adequate structures are in place to mitigate possible emergencies and disasters at the existing seaports in Lagos, South-West Nigeria.

Notably, the petroleum tank farms that litter Apapa, home of the existing these Lagos ports, have been generating great concern about the immense danger they constitute in case of disaster, particularly fire outbreak.

One of these anxious voices is Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, who is among those calling for the relocation of the tank farms away from Apapa.

Reacting to these deep concerns about the tank farms, most likely, members of the House of Representatives Committee on Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness on Monday visited the NPA House, headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Marina, Lagos, as well as other ports facilities, notably those of oil companies, on assessment tour.

At the NPA House, the Committee Chairman, Honourable Ifedayo Abegunde, had told the NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi, that its constitutional brief is to formulate pre-emptive policies on search and rescue operations in the maritime and the aviation sectors.

Abegunde explained that the Committee was at the NPA to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of the fire and lifesaving facilities within Nigerian ports, in order to ascertain if they are in line with the standards of both the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Standard Organisation (ISO).

Also speaking, the NPA Managing Director said that the organisation was adequately prepared to cope with whatever contingencies, including emergencies and disasters, that may befall at any of the seaports in the country.

Abdullahi, who was represented by the NPA  Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Engineer David Omonibeke, disclosed that the high proficiency of the NPA Fire Service Department had made it a reference point in Lagos State.

The NPA Fire Department, according to him, was notable for  swift responses to distress calls from both public and private organisations in Lagos State, earning the NPA several commendations.

Accompanied by the NPA General Manager, Health Safety and Environment, Engineer. Tolulope Talabi; and the NPA Chief Fire Officer, Mr Wale Olayiwola, the Committee was later conducted round the ports in Lagos to see facilities for mitigating emergencies and disasters.

Among the facilities the Committee visited were the tank farms of the Nigeria Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO) and MRS Oil Nigeria PLC.

The Committee was shown the sizes, numbers, and operations of the various facilities, while their respective fire officers demonstrated their effectiveness.

Other members of the Committee on the assessment were the Deputy Chairman, Honourable Ismail Hussein; and Honourables Monsuru Owolabi, Taiwo Oyewole, Rufai Chachangi and  Dan Akpan.

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