…Be Ready to Kill 1,000 of Us, Freight Forwarders Tell NPA, Task Force
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The clean-up exercise at the Tin Can Island Port which kickstated two weeks ago by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in collaboration with the Lagos State Government has now moved into the port environment, even as the NPA has now issued a 72hrs eviction notice to the occupants of the Tin Can Island Container Complex, a popular office space around PTML Terminal.
Recall that there is an ongoing legal battle between occupants of the complex and the management of the NPA.
In 2016, under the Habib Abdullahi administration as NPA MD, the freight forwarders were first issued a quit notice by Seaview properties Ltd., a subsidiary of NPA.
The occupants subsequently dragged NPA to court and the matter has been dragging in court ever since.
Speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS, Chairman of the Container Complex, Chief Shedrack Chukuemeka said the NPA Tin Can Port Manager, Eng Yunusa Muhammed on Wednesday issued 72hours notice for the occupants to vacate the complex, notwithstanding the court case.
According to him, the NPA and some task force visited the port on Wednesday to issue the eviction notice.
Chief Shedrack has however vowed that the freight forwarders would resist any attempt to evict them forcefully from their office space, he said the NPA and the task force must be ready to kill 1000 freight forwarders after the expiration of the 72hrs notice.
He also alleged that the Tin Can Port Manager, Eng Yunusa Muhammed is part of a cabal that has collected bribe from PTML Terminal in order to concession the space to them.
“The matter is still pending in the court, but yesterday, NPA sent their delegation with the police to tell me that I should ask my people to park out in the next 72hours”
“I had to call the Seaview Properties manager, they are the subsidiary of the NPA, I also called their lawyer, they all said they are not aware of it.
When we went to see the port manager, Mr Mohammed, he said it was the decision of the Federal Government to sanitize the port and that a task force has been constituted, and that we have not been paying for the past four years”
“However, we already know that he is one of the people that have collected money from PTML and he wants to sell off that space, two among these cabal have retired, it is now remaining only him”
“Now that we have a new Managing Director of NPA, he wants to play a fast one before the man could understand what is going on.
But I am not really sure if the MD is aware”
“I told him that the matter is in court and NPA should follow the due process.
The place does not belong to us, but the owner must take it back in a polite and lawful manner, they should allow the courts to decide the matter”
“If the NPA decides to bring the task force, we would stand their to resist them and the world would hear.
We have equally told the police DPO to be ready, and come with a lot of arms and ammunition because they would kill more than 1,000 here than day”
“They should come and kill all of us, we are standing there waiting, we are not moving an inch until the court decides, and if the court fails to decide, let the port manager bring his hoodlums to evict us” he said
Chief Shedrack stated that the occupants of the complex have been issuing cheques as payment to Seaview Properties for the past four years but they refuse to accept it.
He also said the court case was supposed to be come up on June 2021, but because the court was on strike, the case did not hold. He said a new date is being expected for hearing.
“The Federal Government did not ask them to evict people from their offices, they told them to ensure that the access roads are free.
We have so many other complexes at the Tin Can Island Port, not only our own.
But because the port manager has collected PR from PTML, he wants to move us by force, we are the number one critical stakeholders in the port” he insisted
When contacted by DAILY TREND NEWS, the Port Manager, Tin Can Island Port of NPA, Eng Yunusa Muhammed said the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has given an express directive for the Tin Can Port to be cleaned up.
He told our correspondent that the Federal Government is worried that the Tin Can Island Port has maintained a reputation of being the most dirtiest and porous port in the world, and that effort is now being made to correct that wrong impression.
“It is the Federal Government directive that the port should be clean and that we should standardise the port”
“Tin Can Island Port has been termed to be the worst port in the whole world, so the present minister has directed NPA management to take all efforts to clean up the port and ensure that we meet up the standard because Cote-de-Ivore is taking over as the best port in the world, we are competing with them”
“So, the minister has directed that we should clean up all the things that made us the worst port in the world”
“Though the task force is not under me, it is a central task force by the top management”
“If you go to Ghana Port, all the shanties you are seeing here at our port cannot be found there, even at Togo Port, you cannot find it, and we are the richest country, so why should we continue to be dirty and harbour criminals?
“The NPA management gave these people quit notice over 6-years ago, the common law says that the landlord has to give the tenant 6months maximum to move out, but the NPA has given them 6-years to leave”
“The shipping world wants to chose a country in West and Central Africa as a hub for international trade, Nigeria we are losing our values, vessels are abandoning our ports and we are competing with Ivory Coast, if we don’t fix our ports, we would lose” he said
He said the NPA has entered into an MoU with the Lagos State Government for them to carryout the clean-up around the Lagos ports.
Last week, the task force visited the Tin Can Island first and second gates and destroyed all existing shanties and criminal hideouts.