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Group calls for probe of RORO barge suspension

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Social Integrity Network (SINET) is challenging the suspension of Roll On Roll Off (RORO) barge operation by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) from all terminals in the Lagos District.

The group has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and order the immediate withdrawal of the letter, which purportedly suspends the badge operation. The group also appealed to the leadership of the National Assembly to probe the circumstances that led to the issuance of the letter, saying the suspension does not advance the interest of the country.

NPA had threatened to seal off some terminals operating over the operation of RORO at the Lagos seaports.

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In a circular to the Managing Director, ENL consortium titled, ‘Re: Suspension of RORO barge operations from all terminals in the Lagos Pilotage district’, the Port Manager, Lagos Port, Olufunmilayo Olotu, said the directive was from the management.

She warned that any terminal that continued to allow RoRo barge to operate would be sealed off

The letter read: “We are directed to convey the suspension of RORO barge operations from all terminals in the Lagos pilotage district by NPA’s executive management.

“This suspension takes effect from 1st December 2020. No terminal operator is allowed to receive RORO barges in Lagos Port Complex. Please note that any violation of this directive will attract stiffer sanctions, including but not limited to the sealing of such erring terminals. This is for your strict compliance as we assure of our esteemed regards.”

The aggrieved group, in a statement issued on Monday by its National Coordinator, Mallam Ibrahim Issa, described the action as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the current administration’s efforts to boost the nation’s economy as well as enhance ease-of-doing-business.

“It is important to note that the action is grossly questionable, owing to the importance of the operations to the nation’s economy. We want the distinguished lawmakers to summon the author of the letter to explain the rationale behind the decision as well as her locus standi for issuing such a threatening letter without adequate consideration and consultation with relevant stakeholders and authorities,” the group protested.

The group noted that the only way to reduce the huge demurrage on containers is the continued operation of the RORO barges.

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