Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) has condemned the looting and burning of the headquarters building and properties of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at Marina, Lagos.
Chairman of the association, Princess Vicky Haastrup, conveyed the sympathy of all STOAN members to the board, management and staff of the authority over the incident. The hoodlums also set many official and private vehicles parked within the vast NPA premises on fire. She urged government to investigate the incident in order to unravel the perpetrators. Haastrup also asked government to beef up security at all the seaports in various parts of the country, while protecting port workers against attacks.
The chairman added that the country could not afford prolonged interruption of port operations, saying there had been severe interruptions of services at the Apapa, Tin Can and Onne ports over the past few days. She stressed that trucks had been unable to go in and out of the port and many perishable items were rotting away.
She noted: “The seaports are critical to the economic wellbeing of Nigeria and Nigerians. Port workers are also essential service workers, so I wish to use this opportunity to urge governments at all levels to ensure that hoodlums are not allowed to gain access into the ports or launch attacks on pork workers.
“Setting a national asset like the NPA headquarters building, which belongs to all Nigerians on fire is an ignoble action. We urge the government to bring the perpetrators of this evil act to justice. These are trying times for the country and it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to protect, not destroy, critical national infrastructure.”
The STOAN chairman said that while it is within the rights of the youth and other Nigerians to express their grievances through protests, such expressions must be done in a non-violent manner and must also be carried out within the ambits of the law.
She explained that it was unfortunate that hoodlums hijacked the otherwise peaceful #ENDSARS protest that received global commendation for its campaign against police brutality in the country.
Haastrup noted: “Those who destroyed the NPA building, public assets and private businesses cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be termed #ENDSARS protesters. They are criminal elements, who decided to hide under the guise of an otherwise noble cause, to steal and destroy public property.