… As NAGAFF threatens to pull out citing national interest
Maritime Stakeholders in Lagos heaved a sigh of relief as indications unfold, that the on-going strike at the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa Lagos may end today.
But, it could not be identified yet, if the abrupt end was because the terminal operator broke the striking agents ranks; or as a result of higher interventions from Abuja.
The National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu gave indications to this, when in a telephone chat with the Maritime First, he confirmed that there was already remarkable progress recorded, in their meeting with foreign terminal giant, the APM Terminal, Apapa.
The Maritime First had deliberately threw it at him, that the agents were probably fronting for the Nigerian Shippers Coumcil, in a bid to continue a war which the Council had though started, but was eventually contained, by court injunctions.
Subsequently, the National President had vehemently denied fronting for anybody, stressing that his group was only continuing a position the body called attention to in 2011.
“Our quarrel and disagreement dates back to 2011. So, you must understand that our action is based, on a combination of reasons.
“We started our action before the issue of any court action; and nobody should accuse us, that we are fronting for the Shippers Council”, Shittu said, insisting that “If a private company, acts like a sovereign within a sovereign; and wrestled down the Shippers Council that belongs to Government, why should that be our concern?”, he asked adding that there was however, some observable light, at the end of the tunnel.
“In any case, there is already some progress that we are having in our discussions with the APMT. They have been having meetings with us; and we are having some intervention too, from Abuja.
“As of now, (yesterday), only one contentious issue is still pending now; and once that one is resolved, we may call off the strike”, he concluded, totally declining to reveal what the contentious issue was.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), today warned that it may pull out of the strike, if the action was not suspended before the end of today.
The statement of the group, though anchored on national economic interest, nonetheless flagged off signs, that the terminal operators they warred against, may have gotten the better part of them.
The NAGAFF Founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam stated this in a message he sent to leaders of NAGAFF, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) and the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO).
The message was simple: find amicable solution to the crisis today, or watch us pull out!
“As the founder of NAGAFF, it shall be my directive to the management team of NAGAFF and the board to call off the strike after signing the relief package with APMT before the CP Ports today. Anything to the contrary shall lead to the withdrawal of NAGAFF from the strike action except such a strike is for all entry points to attain the desired expectations of concessioned port services.
“This can only be supported by NAGAFF after all options for amicable resolutions may have failed.
“The need for equity and justice to all may not to be over-emphasised more so that APMT is a foreign investor in Nigeria.
“It is our duty as Nigerians to ensure that investors in our country are duly encouraged and protected”, Aniebonam stated further, emphasizing that it was wrong for the striking agents to single out APM Terminals Apapa as their target among all the terminal operators.