By DAPO OLAWUNI
Eleven years after the Lagos State Wharf Landing Fee Law No. 5 of 2009 was passed, residents of Apapa Lagos have passed a vote of no confidence on the collecting authority, even as they accused the government of not ploughing back the money to develop Apapa where the money is being collected.
The law which was passed by the then Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola imposes levies which vary from N1, 000 to N3, 000 on all consignments transported from Lagos ports of Apapa into the local government areas of the state.
But speaking after eleven years of the collection, residents of Apapa have raised an alarm, saying that they have not felt the effect of the collection in terms of infrastructure and other succour the money is supposed to create.
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS, Baale of Apapa, Chief Hakeem Oluwanishola stressed that the collection have not reflected on Apapa community.
He stressed that the Apapa Local Government as well as the Wharf Landing collecting agency are getting the money but the residents do not feel the effect.
The Lagos State Government while reintroducing wharf landing fees had said the proceeds would be used to repair the damages heavy trucks inflict on state and local government roads.
The government also explained that the law was meant to harmonize and eliminate indiscriminate charges local government authorities in the state were imposing on heavy duty vehicles that carry consignments from the ports.
Moreover, the wharf landing fee provides for the payment of some certain percentage of charges on any goods that passes through any local government area or council development area in Lagos.
Speaking, the traditional ruler lamented that “I dont think the wharf landing fee has reflected on Apapa community, if it has reflected, the youths of Apapa would not be complaining”
“The residents of Apapa must benefit from their proceeds too, if not, they will take another step.
Even if you have overstretched yourself, you have to take care of your community” he said
Chief Oluwanishola however said he would not advocate for the cancellation of the fees collection, saying that there is a reason for government to have created the fee to raise money into the economy.
“If we say that they should scrap it, at the end of the day we are still going to fight our way into the collection, if the government should scrap it, we are not going to benefit from it, so I wouldn’t advise that the government should scrap it yet” he said
Grand patron of United Apapa Youths Forum, Chief Victor Nangibo Kolombus in a recent chat with journalists lamented that the residents of Apapa have not felt the impact of the wharf landing fee.
He alleged that the Local Government Chairman was also conniving with various companies in Apapa to rip off the benefits that ordinarily should accrue to the youths of the community.
“The companies in Apapa are not offering any employment opportunities.
The warf landing fee is still being collected but we have not been carried along in anything going on in Apapa” he said
Recall that the Federal Government had gone to court to stop the collection of the wharf landing fee in a suit it filed before the Supreme Court.
The Federal Government urged the court to among others, declare the wharf landing fees law unconstitutional and order the Lagos State Government to refund all the money it had collected through the law since its implementation started.