Do you think that the recent strike by clearing agents and truckers is justifiable?

Dr. Frank Ukor (President, AREFFN) The strike is very justified, we have suffered for so many years and yet government does not feel concerned about it. The PDP government had done something on the roads back then, but since the APC government came, it is  two years now and yet they have not said anything about the road. The Government must be very careful because at the end of this 21days ultimatum, the port operators would be more organised on carrying out their strike action, we would shut down the port totally, terminal operators, shipping companies and customs would not be allowed to work, if any agent tries to enter the terminals, they will be dealt with.

 

Rev. Jonathan Nicole (President, Shippers Association Lagos State) The strike is justified because the agents are not working for themselves alone, they are working for everybody, and the action brought a lot of stakeholders together to speak in one voice. The second aspect is that the strike was not selfish; it was geared towards making the federal government to sit up and do what is expected of them, you cannot be a maritime nation if you don't have good roads to the port, so they are helping government in a way. We as shippers commend them a lot, our own duty is to bring in the cargo and if government cannot give us a platform to take out our cargo, then it is too bad. Now the government knows that if anything serious comes up, all of us would come out and fight it. The good road is one of the conditions you must meet before you can be called a maritime nation.

 

Folake George (President, Corporate Fleet Owners)The strike is long overdue, I have been in my office about 5pm and I couldn't access Mobil road until after 12 midnight just because of traffic congestion. We don't have agencies that controls the road that late and you know drivers, especially tankers and trailers, they are always reckless and aggressive, they would want to jump you down to get out in the traffic. The NPA management should help us agree with the agency in their duties to control traffic. When you come to Apapa you would see a lot of empty offices because people are moving out by the day, but we don't have anywhere to go, this is where we work. We hope that as we have said it, it's not going to be one of government numerous promises. 

Mustapha Aboki (Vice Chair, NAGAFF, Tin Can Chapter)The strike was necessary because we have exhausted all avenues for dialogue, our major problem is the port access road, if you take a look, you would discover that the entire roads have even been taken over by dustbin and wastes, you begin to wonder if there is a government in place at all, and this was why we called the strike. We have called on all the relevant authorities, we had given an ultimatum of three weeks but it was not yielded, so if the strike was the last option to call government attention to the precarious nature of the roads, we just had to embark on it. We understand that everybody is suffering and this is the only step we had to take to call government attention to fix the bad roads.

 

Ifeanyi Ekwunife (RTEAN Member)The strike goes beyond mere strike; there are fundamental problems to that. We have lost a lot of lives and properties and we have written several letters to the government concerning the issue and nothing has been done about that. The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), have complained that the TSA, is the reason why they have not been able to do something on those roads. They said that if they have the capacity they will do it. Importers are complaining that after paying huge amount of money buying and clearing these consignments their goods are not safe because of bad roads. Imagine just less than two days of the strike, they have started working on the roads. So I think the strike is the best action that the government understands. The government does not need to be told before they know what to do.

 

Dele Iboma (ANLCA member) The withdrawal of service is good because the response we have gotten so far is encouraging in the sense that we have been able to get the government officials to come and physically examine the roads and see what we are complaining about. After that, there have been meetings with other stakeholders on the way forward. So the approach which is the withdrawal of service is in the right direction.  

Tunda Keshinro (GM Grimaldi)I think the strike is their own way of getting the attention of the government and if that is their own way of doing that, it is not bad then. Because the major problem we are having in the ports is infrastructure.

 

Uche Increase (NAGAFF President)We didn’t go on strike what we did was to withdraw our services. Although it is not the best approach but we feel getting to that level will help get the attention of government and we did that. 

 

Kayode Odunlowo (JCOST Chairman)The action was commendable we are not against the strike, we have been involved in issue of the poor port access roads sometimes last year and we spent more than N4 million to fill some of the bad spots on Apapa road that year. We are interested in what brought about the strike. We have documents to show that we have written to the government concerning the bad condition of the ports access roads.

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