Stakeholders in the Maritime industry are expected to unravel the actors behind the perennial Apapa traffic gridlock and factors militating against free flow of traffic on ports corridors.
The platform to lay bare these critical issues will be provided by The Powerful Pen Newspaper, a monthly Maritime tabloid published by Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria(MAJAN), at a 2-day Maritime Summit in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Powerful Pen Media Summit with theme ‘Apapa Perennial Gridlock; has it defied all solutions ?
* Government seems helpless;
*The task before regulatory Agencies;
Devastating effects on businesses;
* Effect on Government’s revenue’. These and allied matters are to form the discussion at the extra ordinary summit.
Speaking to media practitioners in Apapa Lagos, recently, the Editor-in-chief of The Powerful Pen Newspaper, and President of Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria(MAJAN), Comrade Ray Ugochukwu,disclosed that the summit is very key as all stakeholders are expected to bring to the table, lasting solutions to the recalcitrant and mind rending traffic gridlock.
He added that the summit is a follow-up to the Congress held recently by The Powerful Pen Media Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), where ports users decried the adverse effects of gridlock on their businesses and national economy.
Comrade Ugochukwu during the media briefing, explained why the planned summit is exclusively for comprehensive scrutiny of factors militating against free flow of traffic on Apapa ports access roads and to seek possible lasting solutions to them.
In his words,” we have heard from ports users, including freight Forwarders, truckers, importers, licensed Customs agents, among others. We must therefore strike a balance by giving agencies of government, traffic managers, shipping firms, bonded terminal operators,port concessionaires and others the opportunity to tell Nigerians their own stories,as to how they intend to solve this problem”
According to Ray Ugochukwu,” Maritime is the second highest revenue-generating sector for the Government after oil. Even at that, without maritime, the oil sector will be paralysed because without the sea,there will be nothing like oil revenue. So,all hands must be on deck to tackle the gridlock in order to revitalize the industry.”
The Editor-in-Chief of the Powerful Pen Newspaper added, “we are all involved because Nigeria belongs to all of us. Part of the advocacy of Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria(MAJAN), which we are advancing through our paper,The Powerful Pen,is the institution of international best practice in the system”.
“We have a responsibility to inform the public on issues affecting maritime in particular and the economy in general, and we believe it is time to activate actions that will bring all stakeholders together, harvest ideas and solutions that will help government in addressing the problem. This is exactly what the Summit is all about”,he disclosed.
The extra ordinary Summit which is slated for Thursday and Friday, March 4-5,2021 in Lagos, according to the conveners,will definitely chart the way forward in bringing to an end the monstrous gridlock that has defied every traffic control measure so far applied.
In his response to questions from reporters,he said,”MAJAN has always been at the forefront trying to find solutions to the gridlock on Apapa ports access roads”.
” Recall that on December 8, 2016, MAJAN members embarked on a protest march on Apapa traffic, where all our members walked from Mile-2 bridge to PTML, TinCan Port,Apapa Port ,up to Nigerian Shippers’Council, Apapa Local Government, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA),in Marina,and up to Alausa, Ikeja, the seat of Lagos State Government, and ended it at MITV Ikeja. It was a very tasking exercise that took us a whole day, but we did it successfully.”
“During that protest march,we submitted letters to various agencies warning on the dangers of the same gridlock. Infact, our letters deliberately packaged in red envelopes, signifying impending dangers,were addressed to Nigeria Customs’ boss; Shippers’ Council’s Executive Secretary/CEO; MD of NPA; and President Muhammadu Buhari through the then Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.”
Ugochukwu said, ” apart from Ambode,who is no longer in office,the heads of all the agencies we visited, who are still in office,can attest to my claims.we did warn that if this hydra- headed monster was not nipped in the bud,the industry would be in danger. Today,we have been vindicated”!
He assured that MAJAN as an association of Media practitioners and an advocacy group will continue to explore lasting measures that will practically bring to an end the lingering traffic challenges on Apapa ports corridors.