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Reps order NPA to open Lagos jetty for depot owners

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House of Representatives, yesterday, frowned on Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) going out of its ways to frustrate activities of Petroleum Depot Owners Association (PPDOA) in the country.

The House, via its Committee on Public Petitions, directed the Hadiza Usman-led NPA to reopen Waziri Jetty immediately for unrestricted access and continued use by the depot owners in line with a subsisting order of the Federal High court in Lagos.

The committee, led by Mr. Jerry Alagboso, further directed NPA to repair the jetty to enable the fuel dealers continue their legitimate business.

While faulting NPA over closure of the jetty, the lawmakers warned against any move that would render employees of PPDOA jobless, with its attendant consequences of insecurity.

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“Go back. The NPA must exhaust all matters in court. It cannot stop all the businesses of the depot owners going on. We don’t want any action that would throw up emergence of another Boko Haram and IPOB in the country. We don’t want to hear of any form of harassment. The status quo must remain. Workers should go and continue their businesses. We don’t want idle minds,” the committee chairman ruled.

Alagboso, who acknowledged receipt of a correspondence from the NPA on the issue, expressed disappointment over inability of the agency’s boss to appear before the committee to explain her own side of the story.

PPDOA’s Executive Secretary, Mrs. Patricia Okereke, while testifying before the lawmakers, drew attention of the committee to a subsisting court order against NPA’s moves to deny her members usage of the jetty.

She argued that NPA’s illegal or wanton actions should not be condoned as it is tantamount to abuse of laid down rules and regulations.

“We make this passionate petition due to the fact that continued ‘constructive’ closure of the jetty directly impede continuation of our petroleum business operations; it affects the livelihood of the maritime workers that derive their daily bread from the jetty. It also affects the tanker drivers that load from our depot to service the environs, just as it affects NUPENG members who rely on our depot to continue to provide their services to the country.

“NPA’s continued denial of our lease application for the meritorious grounds of safety put these same lives and nearby residential lives in peril, and there is no justification for it.”

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