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Apapa Port rail project stalls as seized contrabands block track

By Sulaimon Salau
15 May 2022   |   4:01 am
The planned linkage of Nigeria’s biggest seaport in Apapa, Lagos with rail may have suffered setback as the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) has allegedly blocked the rail track with seized contraband goods.

Photo by Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP

The planned linkage of Nigeria’s biggest seaport in Apapa, Lagos with rail may have suffered setback as the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) has allegedly blocked the rail track with seized contraband goods.

The Project Manager, Team Construction Company, Mrs Precious Ebare, who disclosed this during the oversight visit of Senate Committee on Land Transportation, said these are major challenges facing the company on the Apapa rail track.

She said the Customs long room situated around the rail right of way was also yet to be demolished, making it difficult for the construction company to proceed with the project.

Ebare added that some of the contraband goods seized by Customs were on the rail track and slowing completion of the track to the terminal.

She said the challenge of insufficient power supply at Ibadan station was also affecting the completion of the rail project.

Ebare pleaded with the committee to use their office to get authorities to improve on power supply, to enable them finish their project within the scheduled time frame.

When contacted, the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) alleged that seized contraband goods blocking the rail track were to be removed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

Public Relations Officer, Apapa Area Command of NCS, Abubakar Usman said: “The contraband seized by Customs are to be moved by NPA not by the Nigeria Customs Service.”

“This process includes some administrative exchange between the two agencies, which had already taken place. Logistics are already underway to evacuate the containers to government warehouse Ikorodu,” he stated.

Usman also said: “The long room is not meant to be demolished. Customs’ long room is outside the port, far away from where the construction is ongoing. Furthermore, the rail track is designed to bypass the scanning site, making room for part of the building to be demolished.”

Efforts to reach NPA were not successful, as its spokesman, Nasir Ibrahim was unable to respond to enquiries as at press time.