The Federal Government at the weekend said despite inherent risks involved in operating seaports without functional cargo scanners, successive governments in the country neglected the installation of scanners operational tools in the nation’s ports, thereby paving way for seamless smuggling of arms and ammunition, banned drugs, toxic wastes and other contraband into the country.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola who disclosed this at an interactive session with social club members in Lagos said it took the intervention of the President Muhammadu Buhari led government to buy and install Cargo scanners in Lagos Apapa port to allow for easy detection of contrabands and promote efficient inspection of consignment and clearance at the ports.
Fashola said despite the fact that Apapa ports was Nigeria’s first indigenous port it has no scanners.
Fashola said , ‘’You know there is no scanners in our ports that was what they left for Buhari, ports without scanners so Buhari’s government is the one buying scanners , it takes three hours to manually carryout cargo examination on any container that comes through the port when it can be scanned in five minutes . We are not busy incriminating them we are just trying to fix the problem.”
He said since the scanners are not equipment that can be purchased on the shelf, the government had to order for it to be manufactured and installed because the government is convinced that digital technology will contribute immensely to the ease of doing business at the seaports.
The minister said bridges maintenance were hitherto neglected across the country resulting in the collapse of some of the bridges, saying the present administration gave it a priority attention under his watch as the minister.
He said they articulated a plan for maintaining all of Nigeria bridges, saying the estimate for maintenance is about N270 billion despite the fact that not all Nigeria Bridges are in dire situation.
Dwelling on Power sector, he said electricity distribution companies are responsible for poor power supply in the country, pointing out that power generation in the country has increased from 4000 mega watts to 7000 mega watts.
According to him, government on its part has done all required in ensuring regular power supply across the country to meet the demand of the people.