The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Wednesday reacted to the allegation that 282 vessels under its watch had gone missing.
The agency stated that after carrying out a thorough internal check, it was yet to find any evidence supporting the allegation.
In a statement titled: ‘Alleged 282 Missing Vessels: Our Position’ issued yesterday by the NPA and signed by its Principal Manager, Ibrahim Nasiru, the authority explained that following allegations that 282 vessels got missing under the watch of the NPA between 2010 and 2016 by the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, the management of the NPA wishes to state that it has no evidence to support the allegation.
Nasiru pointed out that “On July 20, 2017, the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff handed over documents containing a list of 29 items which are a combination of vessels and details of individual bill of ladings of consignments carried by different vessels to representatives of NPA for review.”
“On July 24, 2017, the NPA received another set of 10 volumes of items numbering 1-1252 alleged to have been transported by vessels said to have called at the NPA. This was delivered to the authority by the Nigerian Shippers Council on the instructions of the Senate committee.
“The NPA has reviewed the documents as requested by the committee and has discovered that of the 29 items handed over to the NPA on July 20, 2017, only five vessels were identifiable.
“We discovered that the other 24 items are repetitions of the five vessels that were identified. A report to this effect with relevant supporting documents evidencing payment of all charges for the five vessels has been forwarded to the Senate committee as requested,” he explained.
On the follow-up documents comprising the ten volumes of items numbering 1-1252 handed over to the NPA by the NSC, Nasiru stated that “the NPA was unable to conduct a meaningful review as the documents did not provide the data that will enable verification.”
Explaining why it was impossible to conduct a meaningful review of the documents received, the authority said it was because the documents provided did not have vessel names and no dates of arrival of the vessels were given making it impossible to establish links with the manifest, bill of lading and consignee; no port of call and name of terminal where vessel berthed were provided and no rotation number of vessels was supplied.
NPA added that it had conveyed its observations to the Senate Committee and looked forward to receiving the required information to enable full investigation.
It also emphasised that the NPA remained committed to every single effort aimed at sanitising operations at the ports and will co-operate with all stakeholders and arms of government in the achievement of same.