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FAILED ACCESS ROAD: Customs agents, truckers shut down Lagos ports

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…As NPA promises to reconstruct failed portions 

Lagos—LICENSED Customs agents and amalgamation of Trucking Associations, yesterday, shut down  operations at Lagos ports to protest the failed port access roads, arbitrary charges and alleged extortions by some operators.

The shut-down prompted the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, to pay an unscheduled visit to the Tin-Can Island port to placate the protesters.

Bala appealed to them to go back to work while she met with other stakeholders in the maritime industry and leadership of the protesting groups with a view to finding a lasting solution to their grievances.

She assured that the Authority would take over the construction of the failed portions of the  access roads even though it is not the responsibility of NPA. She however noted that the full construction of the road which includes proving full utility provision of drainage among others is placed at N4.3 billion.

She assured the stakeholders that  their demands shall be forwarded to the presidential committee on ease of doing business and NPA would do a follow up.

According to her, the construction company is willing to go to site pending the signing of the MoU.

However, the stakeholders were not pleased by the NPA boss’ assurances. They demanded that immediate and concrete steps be taken to embark on palliative measures on the roads.

Situations at the various ports in Lagos showed that all cargo delivery processes were put on hold pending the outcome of the meeting between the protesters and representatives of government.

Confirming the development, the Public Relations Officer of the Tin-can Customs Command, Mr. Uche Ejieseme, told Vanguard that Customs officers were waiting to attend to agents.

On the accusation of extortion levelled against Customs officers, Ejieseme denied saying Customs officers don’t extort money from licensed agents.

He said that once there is a dispute in the clearing process of any cargo, there is a Dispute Resolution Committee where the issues are normally resolved.


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