By Godfrey Bivbere
Operators in the maritime sector have expressed doubt over the ability of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to actually find a lasting solution to the traffic situation at the Tin-can Island Port as directed by the Minister of Transport, Sen. Umar Idris.
As part of measure to achieve the above, the minister had directed the NPA to deliver to his office a blueprint on how to arrest the traffic situation at the Tin-can Island Port within two working weeks.
Speaking with Vanguard on the issue, National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said while the effort is a move in the right direction, there might not any light at the end of the tunnel.
Shittu noted that there had been several attempts in the past to solved the chaotic traffic situation along the port access roads and each attempt had failed, According to him, the former Minister of transport had assured that traffic along the port access would be a thing of the past by October last year but stressed that the problem is still very much around.
He also pointed out that the management of NPA and the Lagos State government had tried in the past to raid the find a solution to the problem but that their efforts did not yield the desired result. Similarly, founder of the National Association of Government Aprroved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Bonifce Aniegbonam,refused to comment of the issue noting that there are more important issue matters affecting ports.
Another operator who spoke with Vanguard noted that government is not serious about finding a lasting solution to the problem. The operator said whenever government was ready to solve the traffic problem, there would be an end to it because some very highly placed persons are benefitting from the chaotic traffic situation.
The Minister had described vehicular and human movement within the port as uncontrolled and uncoordinated.
Speaking to Journalists on the sideline at the on-going inter-Ministerial/Agency retreat on harmonization of the Transport sector reforms bills in Lagos, Sen. Idris said that human and vehicular traffic within and outside the vicinity of the port “is a great source of concern, as obviously no productive or meaningful activity can take place in such disorderly atmosphere.”
He also lamented that the port area have been taken over by people who really have no visible business within the port. “I am talking about the large number of people who hang around the port and at best constitute an obstacle to the smooth flow of business activities,” he said, adding that he his not satisfied with the way empty containers were littered all over the port.