Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi has expressed his delight over the news statement released by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the successful berthing of a Maersk Line Stardelhorn vessel, the biggest container vessel to ever call at any Nigerian port.
With overall length of 300 metres, width of 48 metres, and a capacity of 9,971(TEUs), this flagship from Singapore was received at the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT), Onne in Rivers State at 1620 hours on Saturday, August 15, 2020.
According to Hon. Ibezi, this heart warming news is an evidence that our Eastern ports are receiving the needed attention from the Federal government. Not only are vessels berthing at the Eastern ports after years of comatose but the capacity of the ports to receive bigger vessels has also been increased.
It will be recalled that this recent development is as a result of the outcome of the reports of the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Port Decongestion, of which Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi honorably served as a member.
During their public hearings and the facility tour of all the ports in the country in 2019 to ascertain the causes of decongestion at the Lagos ports and why the Eastern ports are underutilised, they assured Nigerians that the 9th House of Representatives under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila shall leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the Lagos ports are decongested and the Eastern ports put to maximum use.
Recall that this ad-hoc committee was formed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila following the motion Hon. Ifeanyichukwu Ibezi moved on the floor of the House of Representatives on July 16, 2019 for the ‘Need to Restore the Delta, Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Onitsha Inland ports in order to decongest the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos State’.
The motion was aimed at restoring the Delta, Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Onitsha Inland ports, otherwise known as the Eastern Ports, to maximal use, thereby increasing the economic growth of the benefiting states, while creating employment for the youths in those areas.
The motion also sought to put an end to the untold hardships faced by importers and exporters and indeed to Nigerians living in the adjoining areas of the Lagos ports, after continued concentration of ports activities at the Lagos ports resulted in congestion of the two ports such that it now takes a truck with an Authority to Load (ATL) seven to nine days to go in and out of the ports, a process that used to take a maximum of three hours.
Hon. Ibezi appreciated the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and members of the 9th House of Representatives for being able to achieve this feat, which many Nigerians, particularly the Southern States have long prayed to become reality.
Hon. Ibezi believes that with the Eastern ports gradually edging back to maximal use, the congestion faced at the Lagos ports would soon be a thing of the past. He, however, remains hopeful that the other ports – Warri, Calabar and Onitsha Inland – will soon come alive maximally.
He also appreciated the sincere efforts and commitment of Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub, the Chairman of the Ad hoc committee and other members of the adhoc committee, the collaboration of NPA, Shippers Council, Nigerian Navy, and other relevant agencies who joined during the public hearings to ensure that this landmark achievement is made for the nation. He believes that more can be done with the right leadership.