*Why Nigeria loses N800bn monthly to port operations —Shippers association
By Olasunkanmi Akoni, with agency reports
EFFORTS to restore sanity to Apapa and environs may suffer set back, following violent attacks on the Lagos Traffic Management and Enforcement Team, in Apapa, by suspected hoodlums, over the implementation of the newly introduced Electronic Call-Up system in port operations.
This came on a day the Shippers Association of Lagos said Nigeria loses over N800 billion monthly, due to lack of 24-hour seaport operation.
An eyewitness, simply identified as Ahmed, said the incident happened around midnight on Saturday when unknown miscreants launched a surprise attack on the team.
Ahmed said: “The incident happened around 1 am when trucks were been called into the port. Suddenly, unknown hoodlums launched a surprise attack on the men of the state traffic team.
“Sensing danger, the team took to their heels as the hoodlums pursued them with dangerous weapons such as broken bottles, batons, knives, among others.
“The hoodlums, who are being aided by policemen and some illegal truckers subsequently, took over the road after they have succeeded in sending the traffic team away.”
When contacted, Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, confirmed the attack, saying that the Commissioner of Police, CP, Hakeem Odumosu had been fully briefed for further action.
Fayinka said: “Our mandate is to ensure sanity in Apapa and we will not shy away from this. We will not be deterred by their antics. This mission is no retreat, no surrender.
“We are urging all stakeholders to corporate in ensuring this arrangement achieves its set objectives, especially, elimination of traffic congestion within the ports and environs.”
Why Nigeria loses N800bn monthly to port operations—Shippers association
Meanwhile, President of the Shippers Association of Lagos, Mr. Jonathan Nicole, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, decried the alleged refusal of some government agencies to key into the 24-hour port operation directive, describing it as unfortunate.
He said: “The port is money-spinning. Payments are daily made to shipping companies, terminal operators, customs, and transporters, Ministries, Department and Agencies, MDAs, in the ports.
“If one is bringing out 1,000 containers, add the customs duty, shipping and terminal charges, transportation and even under-the-table transactions, then you will understand the amount involved.
“We need to put in place policies that are workable and cannot be thwarted.”