By Amechi Ogbonna and Steve Agbota
Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mr Bello Koko, yesterday eulogised the management and staff of The Sun Publishing Limited for its high level of professionalism in news reporting.
Koko who spoke when the management of The Sun, led by its Managing Director, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, paid him a courtesy visit at the Authority’s head office on Marina Lagos, commended the organisation for eschewing blackmail and fake news journalism that is fast taking root in the nation’s media space across the country.
“We appreciate The Sun for balanced reporting of events in the country. We have seen your reporters call us at intervals in the past to confirm stories they are writing and to get our own view on issues that affect us. This is unlike some others who pick up fake and unfounded stories to continue to misinform the reading public.”
“The Nigerian Ports Authority is a national asset created to improve port facilities across the country.
In this regard, we have been working hard to improve traffic flow around the Apapa ports corridor. We also have a mandate to improve revenue collection by minimising leakages in the ports duty collection system” He said.
To achieve these lofty goals, Koko said the NPA has been collaborating with various government security agencies including NAFDAC, NDLEA, The Nigeria Police, and the Nigerian Customs Service among others.
He said the Authority recently partnered the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), to develop minimum safety standards for trucks coming into the ports to minimise some of the incidences that involve articulated trucks freighting goods and cargoes to parts of the country.
On what the NPA is doing to further improve the ports business operating environment, Koko said NPA was currently implementing the “Operation 360” designed to clean the Apapa corridor of illegal trailer packs, shanties and other unwanted developments around the ports facilities in Lagos, stressing that the Authority’s management was also not unmindful of the presence of bad operators in the system attempting to compromise its laid down rules.
He however, expressed optimism that the Authority’s ongoing reform efforts would further be bolstered upon the completion of the Lekki Deep Seaport, Badagry Deep sea port and the Ondo Deep Sea ports now under construction, adding that these facilities would ease congestion around the Lagos ports and reduce cargo traffic flows to Lome and Cotonuo ports.
The NPA boss said it was against this backdrop that he was welcoming The Sun Newspaper collaboration as timely and desirable option to fasttract the attainment of his reform goals, promising to engage further with the management to build a mutually beneficial partnership.
Earlier at the occasion, Managing Director/Editor In -Chief of TheSun, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, said the visit to the Marina Corporate Head Office of NPA was informed by the management’s recognition of the Authority as a critical stakeholder in both the maritime industry and the Nigerian economy.
He said he was impressed by the reforms currently being implementing by the NPA management, including its efforts at improving the Ease of Doing Business.
Onuoha also commended the NPA boss for his efforts at making the Eastern seaports operational, urging him not to relent in the fight to end congestion on Lagos port roads and make it a thing of the past.
“We are here to commend you and to tell you that we will partner with you. The Sun is one of the largest circulating papers in the country, printing simultaneously in Lagos, Aba, and Abuja, which helps it circulate to all states of the federation” We are here to commend you and to tell you we will support your efforst to make the NPA a world -class facility and a shipping hub in West Africa.