NPA, NITEL EXPRESSS WORRY OVER DAMAGE OF CABLES
BY GODWIN ORITSE
THE Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has expressed concern over the continuous damage to under-water cables belonging to the Nigerian Telecommunication Limited, NITEL, by shipping companies who anchor their vessels illegally outside the Lagos anchorage and other areas around the Nigerian coast.
NPA Managing Director, Mr Omar Suleiman who raised this alarm in an interview with newsmen said the development has affected international connectivity in the country.
Also, commenting on the development, the NPA's spokesman, Chief Michael Ajayi noted that most of the vessels ''involved in the destruction of NITEL's cables are ships that are out there illegally.''
Ajayi said that despite warning by the Federal Government that vessels stay clear from unsecured areas where they are vulnerable to attacks, most ship Captains would do not heed such warnings because of the illegal deals and businesses they engage in, in the nation's territorial waters.
According to him, ''any vessel anchored in any unsecured area is there at her owner's risk,'' as the government had provided security within the anchorage areas adding that it was only vessels that anchored within specified areas that would be protected.
Ajayi further said that as a result of the seriousness of the communication problems encountered due to the damaged under- water cables, the NPA and other stakeholders in the telecommunications industry would ''meet very soon to find a permanent solutions,'' to such problems, they could lead to a total disconnection of international communication.
On the issue of port channels, Ajayi warned that any vessel that goes outside such routes, ''does that at her own risk,'' adding that the authority would not take responsibility for such vessels as the channel had been dredged to 13.5 metre deep; for the first time in the history of the authority.