By Eromosele Abiodun
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs AgentsÂ Â (ANLCA) and other stakeholders in the maritime sector have called on the federal government to use part of the money being generated by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) from the port to fix the roads leading to the Lagos ports.
The Apapa and Tin-Can Customs commands, the stakeholders noted, generate over N2 billion daily from the ports.
The stakeholders argued that the N100 billion required to fix the roads can be generated by Customs and other government agencies within two months.
The Public Relations Officer of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto, in a chat with journalists urged President Muhammadu Buhari administration to support the current management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in finding a permanent solutionÂ to the gridlock on Apapa/Tin Can Island roads as well as reduce hardships on the users.
ANLCA said that the danger in moving in and out of the Lagos ports and its environs has increased geometrically and urged Buhari to declare emergency on the road.
He added there was an urgent need for the federal government to fix the Tin Can Island road as the NPA, Dangote Group and Flour Mills plc embark on reconstructing the entire Wharf Road.
The deplorable state of Apapa roads, he further noted, is hampering access to the Lagos seaports and affecting businesses around the area.
He commended the board and the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for injecting the huge amount of money for the repair of the Apapa Road.
On his part, an importer,Â Â Mr. Adeyemi Adeleke said the federal government needs to compliment the laudable efforts of the NPA by taking steps that will eliminate the Apapa gridlock to achieve sustainable result.
“To tackle the problems which we attribute to the poor port access road, the nefarious activities of tanker drivers and operators of articulated vehicles, the Federal Government needs to declare emergency on the road so that we can enjoy the support of other government agencies like the NPA.
“Although the roads leading to the ports are in bad shape, but we must also understand that the problem on that road comes from the tankers and containerised truck drivers who go to the ports to lift fuel and others. So it is necessary to appreciate the bold step being taken by the NPA because it is not the only government agencies generating money from the ports. We have Customs and others. Therefore, it is inaccurate and uncharitable for anybody to say that NPA is not doing enough to solve the challenge faced on that road or that the agency has lost the battle.
Â â€œThe problem from the port was that vehicles that used to park inside the port have been driven out by the concessionaires and they have no option than to park on the road in order to gain access into the port,” Adeleke said.
The President of ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola ShittuÂ Â had in a chat with journalists, complained that the bad roads were causing avoidable economic losses, accidents and loss of man-hours, on a daily basis.
Shittu said that the bad roads were affecting economic activities and the health of the road users.
Â â€œEvery day, importers, clearing agents and other port users sit for hours trying to get in or out of Apapa and it is causing a lot of stress that can lead to various health problems.
Â â€œApart from the stress and the health of the users, the additional cost the importers are paying to terminal operators and the revenue the federal government is losing due to these unnecessary delays are serious issues that need to be addressed o make the ports attractive in the sub-region, â€he said.