By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as freight forwarders continue in their strike action against the introduction of Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Valuation recently introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service, what could have led to a major confrontation between freight forwarders and dockworkers was averted on Thursday at the Ports and Cargo Terminal at Tin Can Island Port.
Recall that the protesting freight forwarders had shutdown Tin Can Island Port and PTML Terminal since Monday, thereby crippling all commercial activities.
However, trouble started on Thursday morning when dockworkers on directive of their District Chairman forced the Ports and Cargo gates open, with intention to force agents to go back to work.
“The labour’s in Port & cargo has told all agents to go inside and do their work and they have overpowered us and have open the gate” one of the freight forwarders raised an alarm on a platform monitored closely by DAILY TREND NEWS
The freight forwarders agitation heightened further as some of the freight forwarders argued that “It is high time we tell dockworkers that they don’t have any power over us, we give them job to do”
They alleged that the district chairman of the dockworkers had authorized the Ports and Cargo Terminal gate to be opened, and according to them, he has also vowed to open up the car park C which has been shut since Monday.
However, in a swift reaction, the Tin Can Chapter Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Alhaji Mojeed Muhammed had visited the labour leaders and both parties settled with dialogue.
In a statement issued by the ANLCA Chairman to pacify his members, he said “My dear professional colleagues, we appreciate all your collective efforts in pressing home our position on putting an end to e-valuation, which we all believe is inimical to the growth of the industry and Nigeria as a whole
“Presently, I am with Disrict labour leader (of dockworkers) in relation to the stopping of our agitation to end E-valuation, but he made me to understand that, there was a security report as regards intentions to hijack the protest by hoodlums
“However I made him to understand it is a peaceful protest and all the necessary precaution and security apparatus has been put in place
Please at this junction ,we shall meet with others relevant stake holder before we can decide the next action
And I assure you the terminal demurages shall be waive at the end of this struggle
“At this junction, we are meeting with all other stakeholders and labour disrict leaders to proffer a solution to continue with the protest, please let guide and protect the protest not to be hijacked” he said