By Oko Ebuka
Despite the Presidential order to clear roads leading to Apapa ports and its axis from truck drivers, trucks are still occupying the roads and dangerously blocking the residents of Apapa, causing incessant traffic for motorists and making business owners abandon their businesses around the area.
Reacting to this, a freight forwarder, who is also a major stakeholder in the maritime sector, Mr Joe Sanni, said that the presidential order failed due to lack of proper sensitization of the people who are directly involved in the whole processes of clearing the port road.
He stated: “Sincerely speaking when government sits in one place and then decides to make pronouncements without first and foremost sensitizing the people, agreeing with the people, and think they can force things down their throat like that, it doesn’t work that way.
“Whether 72 hours or two weeks, the government is wasting their time because the people that are sitting on the table and discussing with also need to get back to their members and sensitize them and before you know it, they will comply.
“Just imagine after 72hours nothing has happened, we are getting more than two weeks now, nothing is still happening”, he lamented.
Sanni also said that the issue will persist because major stakeholders in the maritime industry were sidelined in the decision-making process, insincerity and other forms of unwelcomed attitudes by some people.
According to him, “Stakeholders must be involved, they must be committed, they must buy into whatever you think you want to do. I’m talking about the transport union, the freight forwarders, leave out Customs brokers because they have an environment within the wharf, but of course, they also have access to port roads.
“I will tell you, there is no sincerity in what they do. They just give orders and forget it is human beings that have to carry out these orders.
“So, when you have NPA, Shippers Council, shippers association, freight forwarders, customs brokers, Nigerian Customs Service, all of us seating down together and we all agree on what is affecting us and our daily bread, how can we get these things off the road? It is not by sitting in Abuja and be issuing orders for people to come and stay in hotels and enjoy themselves, spend state money and all of that.
“You don’t get things like that, first and foremost, if you need one month, two months, or up to one year, we get this done and agree to it, anybody who does not agree to this will be sidelined because you are aligned with the majority of the stakeholders”, he concluded.
Recall that the presidency issued a 72-hour ultimatum on May 22, 2019, that trucks should vacate the roads leading to Apapa Port and its axis, while setting up a task team, headed by Vice president, Professor Yemi Osibanjo and Mr Kayode Opeifa, as vice chairman, to implement.