By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has sent a Save Our Soul (SoS) message to the Federal Ministry of Works, as well as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to address the slow pace of construction works around the Tin Can Island Port, as well as the indiscriminate blocking of the road by Hitech Construction Company.
Chairman of Tin Can Island Chapter of ANLCA, Prince Segun Oduntan in a chat with DAILY TREND NEWS lamented that the construction company have raised barriers on the road perpetually and this has affected movement of trucks to evacuate cargoes from the port.
Presently, he lamented that the lack of proper monitoring of the project by the Ministry of Works and the attendant delay in the road project is affecting the cost of cargo clearance, and that consignments hitherto cleared for N800,000 is now cleared for N2million.
The ANLCA Chairman alleged that the Controller of Works and the Site Engineers have abandoned the project, and that they are never onground to supervise the construction company whom he said is not work twenty four hours, given that the port area is a flashpoint.
Oduntan also took a swipe at the Presidential Task Team headed by Comrade Kayode Opeifa for not helping matters, he said the committee has outlived its importance and ought to have been disbanded. According to him, the Opeifa led committee has become an embarrassment.
He said “The Presidential Task Team which is supposed to be an adhoc committee that supposed to have learnt from mistakes of the past, the Opeifa committee have outlived their importance. These committees appointed are not supposed to stay more than six months, if they last more than six months, they become something else.
The committee has outlived its importance and has become an embarrassment”
“Look at the traffic in Apapa today, the construction works going on around Tin Can Port axis, Hitech, the constructiin company have become Lord, they would block the whole access road and leave a tiny space for all incoming and outgoing vehicles”
“NPA cannot control the construction company, they would say NPA should call the Controller of works. The site engineers are not even on ground to monitor the works going on by the construction company, there is no monitoring, we have to be calling one Mr Popoola who is in Abuja”
“The port is the gateway to the economy, therefore, barricades placed on the roads should be controlled, as it is, we cannot talk to them, NPA cannot talk to them, the ministry officials are not on ground, so the construction company just block and unblock, I don’t see anywhere in the world where construction is going on and you dont create a passage for traffic”
“We are not satisfied with the pace at which the project is being implemented, they are supposed work 24/7, immediately they got to the Tin Can Island Port gate area, they are supposed to double up their effort and work day and night, this is a flash point”
“We know the Julius Barger of those days, if they are working on a road project, immediately they get to a certain point where they know is a flash point, they would put up their light and work at night”
“But the Hitech company are not working weekends, they even go on holidays”
The ANLCA Chairman accused terminal operators of being laid back and complacent about the challenges faced on the road instead of them to stand with NPA.
He said “Right now, clearing costs have doubled, and this is having an effect on the manufacturing sector, a clearance we are supposed to do for N800,000, we end up implementing it for N2million”
“Barge operations is what people are embracing now, the level of trucks coming to the port have reduced, if the construction company double up their work, it would be finished on time”