By Godfrey Bivbere
Unless urgent steps are taken, the nation will continue losing revenue accruable from exportation, as criminals now attack and cart away goods meant for export trapped in traffic on their way to the port.
Disclosing this to Vanguard Maritime Report, Chairman of the Cross River Shippers Association, Mr Michael Ogodo, said several containers of such goods have been vandalised in the last few months.
Ogodo noted that there has been growing number of such attacks and there is a need for the relevant government agencies to step up their efforts aimed at curbing this trend.
Speaking on the issue, President of the Shippers Association of Lagos State, SALS, Rev Jonathen Nicol, said though he is not aware, if it is true that such attacks are happening, then it is a failure on the part of the taskforce set on by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo.
Nicol told Vanguard Maritime Report that it was agreed during the stakeholders meeting that security should be provided for the trailer/tanker drivers to avert any attack by men of the underworld.
According to him, “When they set up this traffic security outfit comprising the Navy, police and some of the Lagos state traffic operatives, it is believed that they would give utmost security to all the truck drivers and it was suppose to be a round-the-clock service.
“That is our belief and it is also agreed that all export cargo should be given express entrance to the port and not for they to line up on the streets because of the perishable items they are carrying.
“If that has been reneged; then of cause it is unfortunate because it all boils down to policy summersault. So the operatives should begin to think of how to get these export cargo entry into the port so that the goods they are carrying would not get damaged and for security reasons like what you have mentioned now.
“If we do not have security for them, it will boil down to people turning from trading in our environment” he said.
Similarly, a trustee of SASL, Rev Nichodemus Idolo, said though he his note aware of the development, such attacks are not new as there were occurrences in the past.
Idolo said truckers leaving the ports in Lagos were attacked and the consignments carted away, especially when such trucks breakdown along the way or get stocked along the bad roads in Lagos.
“Well it has been a known occurrence in the past. I have not gotten any report of such happening recently but I know that it is something that usually happens in the past.
“When your container is out of the port and it falls into a ditch or there is traffic, many times they break the container and they remove stuff,” he said.