By Chinonye Anyatonwu.
Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman
The Nigerian Ports Authority NPA has assured seaport stakeholders that the recent fire incident at its Marina, Lagos headquarters and attacks at the Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa occasioned by the ENDSARS protests would not in any way affect port operations and other service delivery in the maritime industry.
Recall that suspected hoodlums had on Tuesday, October 20, launched an attack on the Tin Can Island Port and also set the Marina headquarter on fire on Wednesday October 21, 2020, in what security experts described as part of the backlash of the #ENDSARS protests and the alleged shooting of some of protesting youths at the Lekki Toll Gate.
In a statement signed Sunday by the agency’s General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Jatto Adams, NPA assured all stakeholders and the general public that the incident did not any way affect operations of the authority as it has continued to render its services unhindered.
He also disclosed that a total of 27 vehicles, including cars, utility vehicles, pick up vans and staff buses were set on fire, while 33 other vehicles; 22 of which belong to members of staff were vandalised even as a Toyota Prado SUV, a Bajaj motorcycle and one Hilux patrol van were also stolen from the premises.
It was further gathered that all the authority’s assets are comprehensively insured, even as the insurers are currently undergoing an assessment of the damage.
According to the GM, the management of the authority is particularly grateful that no life was lost in this sad incident 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.
While recognising and appreciating the gallantry of men of the Nigerian Armed Forces and its firemen whose intervention restored normalcy, NPA also appreciated the concerns of all stakeholders and citizens who have reached out to it with kind words of support and encouragement.
The statement reads in part: “The management of the NPA regrets the attack on its 26/28 Marina Road, Lagos, corporate headquarters and the Tin Can Island Port by unknown persons on Wednesday October 21 and Tuesday October 20, 2020 respectively.
“The attack on the Tin Can Island Port commenced at 9:45am on Tuesday October 20th 2020. The hoodlums made an attempt to forcefully gain access into the port, attacked the administrative building and set ablaze a truck which was evacuating cargo. It took the combined effort of officers of the port authority police, the police mobile force and the Nigeria Customs Service to repel the attack.
“The attackers at the headquarters numbering over 300 persons, gained access into the premises at 8:42am on Wednesday October 21st 2020 from the outer Broad Street wing brandishing, daggers, sticks and cutlasses.
“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.
“Upon knowledge of the attack, officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces were invited and deployed to the premises. They successfully dispersed the hoodlums and reclaimed possession of the premises following which the authority’s firemen were able to gain access into the building and put out the raging 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.”
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