No fewer than 3,000 containers are trapped inside the Lagos Port Complex Apapa as a result of the lockdown created by a new policy introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the return of containers to the port, a port official said.
The official said trouble started when NPA management at the port decided to take over the control of traffic in and out of the port area from the Nigerian Navy.
He said the NPA officials, without prior warning, upturned the Navy’s truck call-up system and decided to create a new arrangement “without informing anyone about it”.
A truck driver, who identified himself as Sulaiman Adeoye, confirmed that the new policy led the truck drivers to down tools on Tuesday and Wednesday in protest.
He said, “They (NPA) just suddenly came on Monday and said that all trucks must first go to a shipping company’s loading bay from where they are to be called into the port. Unfortunately, this is contrary to the arrangement being implemented by the Nigerian Navy, which has worked very well and has eliminated the Apapa gridlock.”
Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi, who also confirmed the development to journalists in Lagos, said the truckers are agitated by the new policy because “it is still alien”.