By Steve Agbota
Exporters have decried the breaking of containers of export produce by miscreants and theft of their contents inside the box along the port access roads. The exporters blamed the situation on the Apapa gridlock, caused by ongoing road construction along the port corridors, even as they alleged incessant extortion by security personnel around the port environs.
Speaking with Daily Sun yesterday, Mr Emmanuel Enahoro, an exporter said that traffic on the port access roads is artificially created by human factors to extort money from truck drivers, exporters, importers and forwarders.
According to him, these human factors have to create the traffic by delaying truckers to create room for miscreants to pilfer export containers.
He said when these human factors set in, it causes delay, resulting to traffic jam and room for these touts to break the containers on the truck and cart away with some of the produce.
He said sometimes, when they found it difficult to break the containers, they resulted to stealing the battery of the trucks, collect truckers phones and other valuable items from them.
“Exporters are suffering and running at lost. We can’t continue like this. It is high time government do something about this situation. When we can’t export our produce, how government generate foreign exchange? Export is a dollars business because it generates forex and it repatriated back into the country.
“Extortion along the port corridors is still in the high side. Extortion is frustrating E-call up system. The bad eggs don’t want it to work. As we speak now, from First Gate to Second Gate, we have about four roadblocks mounted by these intentionally organise looters called security agents and the trucks must part with money before they can move else they won’t allow the truck to go in.
“Do you know that from Mile 2 Axis through Fatgbem Petrol Station, to Coconut exporters are meant to pay N170,000 per truck, which from Coconut to TinCan and Gate at the cost of N70,000, which amounts to N240, 000 minimum excluding other incidences of graft. “My sesame seeds truck stayed for almost two weeks on the road because the driver refused to bribe his way through and in that way, most exporters has lost their potential customers due to these satanic elements,” he lamented.
He said the challenges are also hindering exporters’ ability to fulfil commitments on time and making forwarding and shipment very expensive.