The nationwide EndSARS protests, temporarily paralysed activities at the Lagos Ports yesterday, as port users embarked on peaceful protest in solidarity with other Nigerians over the continuous harassment and extortion by law enforcement agents.
The protest was staged at Apapa Wharf Gate and Tin Can Island first and second Gates. The protesters included trucks drivers and trucks owners, motor boys, and other port users who demanded that the entire law enforcement agents; Police, Army, LASTMA, Customs, port authority security should all be disbanded from the port access roads.
The protesters expressed anger at the continuous harassment and extortion by various law enforcement agents.
The protesters lamented that from Mile 2 axis through Fatgbems petrol station enroute Coconut, trucks spend a minimum of N170, 000 per truck, while from Coconut to Tin Can first Gate, they spend another N70, 000, totaling N240,000. They called on Government to disband the various task force on the road leading to Nigeria’s premier ports.
Speaking with Daily Sun, the Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, said that the EndSARS protest is impeding movement of people into and outside the ports, saying that the protests has extended into the ports.
“Now the EndSARS protest has started at the Tin Can Inland first and second gate today. And the boys are saying they are going to continue tomorrow. Definitely,it is going to paralyse activities at the port. I am with them because their demand is very important. They are demanding that FOU and every other Customs intervention units should leave the roads.
“I am with them in spirit. Unfortunately, if there is no pain, there won’t be any gain. The Government ought to have been sensitive to listen to the cry of Nigerians in the last five to seven years but they have not done so. Looking at the nation’s port roads, which have been in dilapidated state, port users are only managing the roads and the interconnectivity is not working.
He added that if anybody wants to access the road now, it takes N150, 000 to bribe the so called presidential task force, saying that it is a system collapse and the youths are in order with their agitation.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Osita Chukwu, said the EndSARS protest will affect the port operations seriously because there will be congestion at the ports.
He hinted that Nigerian ports would witness a sharp decline in revenue.
‘‘If nothing is moving, the logistic chain is broken and by that reason affecting one side either by demand or supply.
In this case, trucks are complaining that when they pay them N500,000, police and other agencies will collect N200,000 from them. After deducting all logistics expenses, we are left with nothing’’
They lamented that the development is depriving them of the needed funds required to fix their trucks and p[ut them in good shape.
Chukwu demanded free movement of trucks without let or hindrance while also calling on the NPA to harmonise its call up system so that they won’t be having containers on their vehicles for weeks, which is not healthy for the truck, the driver and the motor boy.
He added that the Federal Government should expedite action to have a remedial way to solve the challenges they are facing.