By Innocent Orok
Heads of maritime agencies have expressed shock at the attack and level of destruction that took place at the corporate headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Lagos. Hoodlums had hijacked a nationwide peaceful EndSARS protest by youths to destroy property in including the NPA headquarters in Lagos.
The Chief Executives voiced their concerns on Friday during a solidarity visit to the site of the incident. They said it was a surprise to them that NPA was singled out for attack despite its documented Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Community Relations initiatives, many of which were tailored to youth development.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief Executives, Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Moghalu, condemned the assault, saying the level of destruction is monumental and constitutes a huge loss to the maritime community as a whole.
Moghalu said “Seeing the level of destruction here first hand, we feel very sad about the turn of events. We are all in solidarity with the NPA management. This is a great loss to the entire country and we need to educate ourselves more that violence is not the best way to go about things.”
In a similar vein, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, regretted that the maritime industry was made to face this challenge despite still battling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said port facilities were critical national assets that should be collectively protected.
“Port facilities are invaluable economic assets and they are critical to national development, It behoves on us all as citizens to be custodians of this monumental infrastructure built for our collective good,” Jamoh said.
While commending the Managing Director of NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, for providing leadership at this trying time for the agency, Dr Jamoh said the Nigerian economy would have suffered considerably, if the destruction had led to suspension of port operations.
“This is a sad event, especially, for our industry that is still battling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Port operations are central to the activities of all the maritime agencies. We are just lucky that this did not stop shipping operations, because this would have negatively impacted or crippled the Nigerian economy.”
The NPA Managing Director Hadiza Usman had called the attack an assault on the maritime industry, saying the level of destruction is incomprehensible.
Other Chief Executives of maritime agencies present at the visit were Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, (NSC), Barr. Hassan Bello; Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), Sam Nwakohu and Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, Commodore Duja Effedua (retd.).