Lagos — The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured stakeholders in the maritime sector of the continuous operations at the nation's oldest seaports, Apapa, and the Tin-Can Island port despite attacks and the burning of NPA's headquarters at Marina in Lagos State.
The Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, gave this assurance yesterday while conducting media men on a tour of the facility to assess the extent of the damage.
"All stakeholders and the general public are hereby assured that the situation has not affected operations of the Authority in any way as we have continued to render our services unhindered," Usman said.
Narrating how the incident happened, the MD said while NPA and security agencies were ensuring that urchins did not stop port operations after the attack on Tin-Can Island Seaport on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, the management was shocked when on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, hoodlums set fire to the headquarters of NPA after vandalising the premises.
Usman who described the situation as disheartening, said the Federal Government had invested heavily in ensuring that the building is conducive for staff.
She said management has invested heavily in procuring vehicles for operational use and that some of the procured vehicles were among those that were burnt.
She said the attack was an act of vandalism, noting that many properties of NPA were vandalised before the building was set ablaze.
Narrating the incident further, the NPA management said, "The attack on the Tin-can Island Port commenced at 9:45 am on Tuesday, October 20, 2020. The hoodlums made an attempt to forcefully gain access into the port, attacked the administrative building and set ablaze a truck that was evacuating cargo.
"It took the combined effort of officers of the port authority police, the police mobile force and the Nigerian Customs Service to repel the attack.
"The attackers at the headquarters numbering over 300 persons gained access into the premises at 8:42 am on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 from the outer Broad Street wing brandishing, daggers, sticks and cutlasses."
It said after attacking, disarming, and chasing the security personnel on duty out of the headquarters premises, the attackers proceeded to burn and vandalise several vehicles belonging to the Authority and some members of staff. They thereafter set a wing of the office building on fire.
After an assessment of the extent of damage, it was discovered that apart from the annex wing that was burnt, many offices were vandalised, while computers, printers, water dispensers and other electronic devices were looted.
NPA said 27 vehicles, including cars, utility vehicles, pick up vans and staff buses were burnt, while 33 other vehicles, 22 of which belong to members of staff were vandalised. A Toyota Prado SUV, a Bajaj motorcycle and one Hilux patrol van were also stolen from the premises.
It also noted that all assets of the Authority are comprehensively insured, and insurers are currently undergoing an assessment of the damages.
"The Management of the Authority is particularly grateful that no life was lost in this sad incident. This is in spite of the fact that some members of staff who were on critical duties were in the building at the time of the attack.
"The Authority recognises the gallantry of men of the Nigerian Armed Forces and our firemen whose intervention restored normalcy. We also appreciate the concerns of all stakeholders and citizens who have reached out with kind words of support and encouragement," the MD said.