By DAPO OLAWUNI
Freight Forwarders in the Nigerian port system have joined the #ENDSARS# protests currently rocking the nation, as thons of them besieged the Tin Can Island Port on Monday and shut down all commercial activities at the port.
The freight forwarders gathered themselves in numbers within the Customs Proessing Centre (CPC) at the Tin Can Island Customs command, even as they screamed “CAC ole, CAC Ole” (CAC is a thief)
Some of the placards carried by the protesters read “End FOU Extortion” “Maritime Police Blocking our containers# End Strikeforce# End Customs Intimidation# End Shipping companies Intimidation.# among others.
The protesting freight forwarders later moved to the second gate of the Tin Can Island Port.
Speaking with DAILY TREND NEWS, an executive of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Chapter confirmed that the strike action would continue today Tuesday until all the anomalies in the clearance procedure are addressed.
“This time around we have woken up, nobody would capture any job or pay duty this week, by the time the government realise that no revenue is coming in, they would come out and address the situation ”
“How can we release a job at the port by a senior officer at the port, and a junior officer of FOU is stopping it at Mile 2”
“The protest is continuing tomorrow, we are moving to Apapa Port and Mile 2 to confront the FOU Officers where they are stationed” he told our correspondent, pleading anonymity.
Meanwhile, the Customs Area Controller of tin Can command, Compt Musa Abdulahi has directed the protesters to put their demands in writing and send it to the customs.
The spokesman of the command, Mr Uche Ejesieme urged the freight forwarders not to allow the protest to be hijacked by hoodlums.
He assured that “At the command level,we are looking at some of the issues raised by the protesters,which ofcourse cannot be isolated from the issues surrounding the #endsars brouhaha”
“But pls be assured that the coalition recognises their rights to a peaceful protest but shouldn’t be allowed to be hijacked by some undesirable elements masquerading as freightforwarders”
“Like I said earlier,the command is determined to look into their demands with a view to making adjustments where necessary”
In a related development, youths under the aegis of United Apapa Youths Forum ,( UAYF), have threatened to disrupt port operations over police brutality and the ongoing #ENDSARS campaign.
According to the group, over 500 youths in Apapa and its environs have indicated interest to lockdown the two major seaports in Lagos as part of the ongoing solidarity.
Patron of the youth forum, Prince Kolumbus Victor in a chat with journalists on Monday , disclosed that the youths numbering over 500 have penciled down their names for the solidarity movement.
The Patron said : “We have been strategizing ever since the beginning of this struggle but we felt we should consider how to take care of those that will participate because there will no going back once we join the protest.
“We will converge at Area B Police Station then we will ensure that all entry points to the seaports are barricaded.