Crisis Hits Nigerian Seaports As Stakeholders Embark On Indefinite Strike Action

•NPA staff blasts APC government over collapsed port access road

•ANLCA, truck drivers begin strike today  There was palpable apprehension at the weekend over an impending crisis that may engulf Nigerian ports this week as key stakeholders in the maritime sector have announced that they would be going on an indefinite strike, starting from today, 15th of May 2017 in order to protest the dilapidated condition of the roads leading to the Apapa Port and the Tin Can Island Port in Lagos.The stakeholders argued that the roads leading to the port which is gateway to the nation’s economy are supposed to be one of the best in the country, but lamented that the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports have been neglected for long, thereby leading to accidents, loss of life, investments and man hours.Confirming the planned strike in a chat with Shipping Position Daily at the weekend, National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Prince Olayiwola Shittu said that after issuing a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government on two occasions to address challenges at the port, the association has mobilized all its members at seaports, airports and border stations nationwide to down tools starting from today (Monday).He stressed that the protest was necessitated by Government's insensitivity to the continuous killing of port operators, owing to the collapsed port access roads.“We are mobilizing our members already. This is an action we are taking in conjunction with all stakeholders in the port, the ANLCA and NAGAFF initiative is a reality and we are working together, but other port operators are also involved.“After giving the first 21 days, given another 21 days, we have had several meetings with the government, but the Government is reneging on all promises made to port users arising from 21days ultimatum and yet another 21days extension by licensed  customs agents and freight forwarders. All practitioners are thereby enjoined to comply with this directive” Shittu stated.Also, apparently frustrated by the state of the major roads leading to the ports, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) staff under the aegis of President of the Senior Staff Association of Communication, Transportation and Cooperation (SSACTAC) NPA branch have condemned the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government for paying lip service to port infrastructures.President of SSACTAC Maritime;  Comrade Benson Adegbeyeni told Shipping Position Daily in Lagos last week that it is pitiable that the APC government and its minister of works, power and housing who was former governor of Lagos State, has chosen to neglect the seaports which generate the highest revenue, next to the oil and gas sector.Stressing the need to embark on total rehabilitation of the port access roads, Comrade Adegbeyeni lamented that the roads at Apapa port and Tin Can Island Port is an eyesore, for a sector that generates so much revenue for the federal government. He said that the eagle that lays the golden egg has been left unattended to for several years.“What of the people that are paying revenue to the government? The transporters, the clearing agents, and others, are they enjoying what they are paying for? An importer brings his cargo and paid the federal government, and on his way going the trailer fell, apart from the wasted man-hour, many lives have been lost on this road and the people in power do not care about it”“I am expecting that by now, the APC government would have fixed this road, if the government wants to actually work, look at when Abuja airport was closed down, look at the amount of money spent to hurriedly fix Kaduna road and the airport, can you quantify the revenue from the seaports to the Abuja airport?” “We have a minister who happens to be a past Lagos State Governor, his first assignment is supposed to be fixing of this road to bring more revenue to the government.The roads have led to many agents and importers diverting their goods to Cotonou while same goods would still find their way into Nigeria. I am expecting the APC to have gotten a good blueprint for the seaport now” Adegbeyeni complainedAlso last week, seaport truckers under the aegis of Amalgamation of Trucking Associations (ATA) said it was embarking on an indefinite strike action by Monday 15th 2017 due to the bad state of the roads leading to the port which has been left unattended to.The amalgamation is a combination of all trucking associations in the maritime sector including; Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO) National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Corporate Fleet Owners.