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The powerful Pen Media Chapel organized Congress to advance business in maritime sector

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Report by Asuquo Nuwak

The Chapel, an affiliate of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos Chapter, has noted that there was need for terminal operators and shipping companies not providing holding bays to be sanctioned accordingly. This was part of the resolution reached at the end of the special Congress organized in Apapa, Lagos on the theme: “Apapa Traffic and Skyrocketing Inflation in the country, Effects on port operations and maritime Industry”.
Our correspondent in Lagos reports that participants at the Congress were drawn fro importers, exporters, freight forwarders, licensed customs agents, and truck owners.

The participants include chairman, Tincan port chapter, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Alhaji Kazeem Isa, as special Guest of Honour, National Secretary, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Comrade H. Okwosa, as Guest, chairman, Bonntex Nigeria Limited, also a long standing member of ANLCA, Mr Boniface Okoye, as key speaker, a top official of National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and also the Public Relations Officer, Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA) Alhaji Inua Abdullahi, as Guest Speaker and Dr Emeka Enebili, as Chief Host. According to the document signed by Sylvanus Ekpo, Silas Onuoha and Udeme Clement and made available to newsmen, the Apapa Traffic gridlock contributes 35 Percent to why Nigeria port is the most expensive within West African sub-region. It said that Apapa and Tin-Can are the two most vibrant ports in Nigeria, but lacks adequate maintenance if access roads.

It added that government has allowed a cabal to hijack maritime business in Nigeria to the detriment of the entire economy. The gathering also identified that the perennial traffic gridlock on Apapa Port access road is induced by powerful Mafia in the system.

The Congress also identified other factors militating against maritime sector in Nigeria namely: ” Insincerity on the part of regulators poses a big challenge, and
Barge operators are also owners of the terminals, making it difficult to regulate the sector”.

At the end of the Congress recommendations and solutions were proffered to myriad of challenges namely: ” Federal Government should open up Eastern ports, in order to ease the pressure on Apapa Port,
“Nigerian Ports Authority must wake up to it’s responsibility of Managing the port access roads,
“Barge operators should be encouraged to decongest the ports,
“Traffic managers creating artificial toll-gates to collect huge sums into private pockets must be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others, and
“Individuals constituting nuisance, who have no business on the port access roads must be forced to leave the terrain”.
In his remarks, the leadership of Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria( MAJAN), Comrade Ray Ugochukwo, said Powerful pen Media Chapel, as an affiliate of Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ), Lagos Chapter, will always live up to expectations by constantly informing the public on activities in the maritime Industry. He recognized the leadership of Lagos Chapter of NUJ under Comrade Leye Ajayi.

He thanked all the stakeholders who attended the Congress, despite their busy schedule, including the National President of ANLCA, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike, who gave the chapel the support make the Congress a huge success.