As a means of getting the Federal Government to live up to its billing in handling the perennial traffic gridlock in the nation’s ports access roads and the environs, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has threatened to withdraw the services of its members nationwide.
Speaking with press men last week, at the National Secretariat of the association, the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Kayode Farinto disclosed that the traffic situation is unacceptable to the association.
He added that the association is giving the Federal Government two weeks ultimatum to find a solution to the traffic problem failure which he said would amount to withdrawal of services by their members.
While speaking, he said,” It has come to the notice of the President and members of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) that the traffic gridlock along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Wharf Road, Marine Bridge, Ijora, Orile and so on is now unbearable.
“All of the above mentioned entry routes into Apapa have become dens for armed robbers and hideouts for them to perpetuate their evil acts. Some stakeholders have at various times been dispossessed of their valuables and cash at gun points on a daily basis.
“Customs brokers, Customs officers, freight forwarders, various port users including residents of Apapa have continued to experience untold hardships. This has been having negative impact on business activities within and outside the port environment. Some innocent Nigerians have also on many occasions, fallen victims of armed robbery attacks in their bid to make use of few alternative routes”.
He recalled that the association had in the time past advised the Federal Government against citing tank farms within the port areas because of the challenges the people are facing now.
“But all our suggestions were ignored by the then Federal Government under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who went ahead to give approval to all tank farms to be situated around Nigeria’s busiest ports. This greedy, singular and callous act of ‘Executive Recklessness’ has brought economic loss in terms of manpower and loss of valuable time to both the rich and the poor.
“The Federal Government is not exempt in these daily records of losses as revenues generated by some government agencies have begun to drop at an estimate of over N5, 000, 000, 000 (five Billion naira) daily. This is as a result of the traffic gridlock”, he said.
He added that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had paid less attention to the issue of the recurrent gridlock in the port axis even as he called on the incoming administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to find a lasting solution to the nightmare.
He recalled that the Vice President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo had promised to wade into the chaotic traffic situation during electioneering period as well as relocate the tank farms in around the port area to somewhere around Lekki-Epe Expressway.
“We urge his Excellency to expedite actions on this as soon as his government is being sworn into office. Moreso, we call on the new Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mallam Sanusi Lamido ado Bayero to partner with other stakeholders like the Nigerian Navy in order to give temporary solutions which will serve as palliative measures to the traffic gridlock and will alleviate the sufferings of the maritime stakeholders.
“Finally, if nothing is done, we may have no other option than to withdraw our services from the ports in order to compel the federal government to live up to her constitutional responsibilities to the citizens.”