Chaplain of the Mission To Seafarers in Apapa Lagos, Rev Canon Bimbo Aduroja , has called on maritime stakeholders and government agencies, especially, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the need to develop the abandoned Seafarers Centre in Apapa.
Aduroja stated this on Sunday, July 8, during the 2018 Sea Sunday Service held at the St Andrews Anglican Church, GRA, Apapa Lagos.
The chaplain told stakeholders gathered at the celebration that the centre was supposed to be a pride of seafarers and a home away from home where seafarers calling at Nigerian port were supposed to relax, refresh themselves before sailing out of the country.
According to him, there were over 200 centres in over 50 countries of the world where the presence of the seafarers are felt.
However Aduroja, who is also the vicar of the St Andrews Anglican Church however lamented that the centre established within the church premises has since been abandoned.
He said that rather than come to the seafarers centre in Apapa, hotels now take advantage of the seafarers by going directly to the port to pick them up to brothels and other places.
Most times, he said the hotels take advantage of the seafarers and that they are sometimes robbed of their money and valuables.
“This centre and the ‘Mission to Seafarers’ as a whole is a non-profit making organisation, so we expect government agencies especially to come to our aid and support us in developing the centre because if this place is developed, it would redeem our image, even to the entire world.
“In other parts of the world, this is not the kind of center they meet, so whenever they come into Nigeria and they don’t have a center to relax and enjoy themselves, they will go back with a different impression of the whole country.
“Nigeria is capable and has what it takes to upgrade the centre, the government agencies have provision for social responsibilities in their budget.
“We have been reaching out to shipping companies, other stakeholders, more especially, NPA and NIMASA. In terms of donation we have not received anything, they are making promises but none have responded.
“When we go on ship visits we ask them if they want to get anything, and we bring them here, anything the seafarers need must be provided for them here, including bureau-de-change. We take them back to the vessel free of charge, what we sell here is expected to be cheaper than what they get outside, that’s how it’s done worldwide,” he lamented.
The chaplain however said that “The people going from hotel to pick them up onboard vessels usually collect transportation, they even rob them of their belongings and cash, they take them to brothels, at the end of the day, the seafarers come back complaining.
“We now have the challenge of, if you go on ship visit now, we don’t have a center we can bring them to and this is what forces them to these hotels.”
He said the Sea Sunday is celebrated every second Sunday in July, where the Anglican Church gather to conduct a service to remember the efforts and appreciate the seafarers who spent a greater part of their lives on sea in order to bring goods and services that we depend upon.
He said that seafarers were mostly left unattended to and uncared for,and this was why the mission was established in 1886 by an Anglican Church Priest called Rev John Hashley.
Also speaking with LEADERSHIP at the event, director of the merchant navy directorate, Rear Admiral Goodwill Umbo, called on NIMASA and NPA to come together and develop the dilapidated seafarers centre, saying that failure to do so, Nigeria would continually be a laughing stock to the world.
“My expectation is that this country should begin to know and appreciate the role of seafarers in this country, without seafarers, the merchant navy would not exist and cannot grow, without seafarers there is no merchant Navy, and they are the ones that make things work, they bring the cargo and the commerce to us,” he said.
Operator Seeks Government’s Action Against Rickety Trucks At Seaports
The general manager, SIFAX Haulage & Logistics Limited, Adewale Adetayo, has demanded that the federal government expaditen urgent action against rickety trucks at the nation’s seaports
This was even as he asked the government to fix all the major dilapidated roads scattered all around the country in a bid to boost the fortunes of the haulage sector.
Adetayo, who made the call demanded government’s stern action on regulation as he said a good number of the trucks plying the country’s roads were rickety in nature, thereby putting the lives of other road users and the goods they convey at risk.
While commending government’s relevant agencies for their efforts in this regards, he urged them to be more stringent in order to rid the roads of all rickety and badly-maintained trucks.
Speaking on the rehabilitation of the roads, the GM said many potential investors in the business were scared away because of the potential risks their investment would be exposed to as a result of the deplorable conditions of the major highways in the nation.
He said, “The haulage business has a very huge potential but not much attention is paid to it. The sector currently accounts for over N200 billion turnover, with an estimated growth rate of about 10 per cent per annum.
“If you look at the assessment of the Logistics Performance Index, Nigeria ranks 90th out of 160 countries, which is very poor. One of the major challenges confronting the sector is that of bad road.
“ If you also consider the road landscape in Nigeria, the federal government has about 18 per cent of the road network, state government about 16 per cent and the local governments about 68 per cent. The sad thing is that more than 70 per cent of the traffic on the road is basically on the federal roads which represent just 18 per cent of the country’s total landscape.”
Adetayo noted that the sector would experience a quantum leap in growth and investment if all the federal roads and other necessary infrastructure can be fixed.
He debunked the insinuation that there were more than enough trucks on the roads, adding that the continuous expansion of the country’s economy necessitates frequent movement of goods from and into the country.
He noted that the proper implementation of the ease of doing business would encourage more investment, both local and foreign, in the sector.
Speaking further on the company’s recent acquisition of 20 new trucks, Adetayo said increased demand by the customers, as well as creation of more jobs opportunities accounted for the purchase that takes its fleet strength to 75. He said this has now positioned the company to undertake good delivery in any part of the country and beyond
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