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Nwabunike urges government to declare emergency on port access road 

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Segun Oladipupo

The National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Tony Iju Nwabunike, has urged the Federal Government to declare state of emergency on the port access roads to expedite the ongoing road construction.

He made the call in his goodwill message to Muslim faithfuls and members of the association on the occasion of this year’s celebration of Eid -Il-Fitri.

While saluting the selflessness, self denial and commitment in praying for Nigeria ,especially in the face of security challenges in the country, he enjoined the government to take a proactive decision even if it takes the contractors to work 24 hours on the road to make sure the job is completed in good time.

He said, “While the government is consciously trying to address the Apapa gridlock, i implore that a state of emergency be declared to expedite the ongoing road construction works.

“This could come in form of 24 hours work by construction workers, especially when the rains subside.

“Any stop gap solution to Apapa traffic is bound to suffer setback of either extortion or other forms of sabotage until the roads are fully constructed for seamless access to the ports either through Apapa Oshodi Expressway or Apapa Ijora axis.

“I also implore that the Port Harcourt to Eleme axis of the East West road and the adjoining portion leading to Onne Port, where you have a beehive of maritime activities, be attended to in good time for the collective benefits of government and port users.

On the significance of the maritime industry as the fortune of oil dwindles globally, he stated that “As the second highest revenue earner, Nigeria’s maritime industry is the nation’s economic low hanging fruits capable of cushioning the temporary effect of reduced oil revenue

“This year’s fasting and Eid- El -Fitri celebration are instructive , coming at a time the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had declared that it would deduct N112 billion from oil and gas proceeds for April to ensure continuous supply of petroleum products to the country and guarantee energy security.

“Implications include not having oil revenue for the federal government to share with the states and local governments

“This situation is premised on the hike in crude oil prices on the deregulated downstream sector and the need for uninterrupted supply of petroleum products to citizens

On security, Nwabunike said that the national laxity in security called for increased security attention in the ports.

According to him, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is rising to the occasion with planned deployment of deep blue assets later this month.

“It is anticipated that this move will go a long way in fighting piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea and our country’s territorial waters.

“Safety of vessels, cargoes and crews on our waters have direct impacts on our overall economy since the maritime sector is critical for us in the areas of trade, investment, employment and recreation

“Further development of our maritime potentials will be a bold step towards economic diversification for job creation, addressing insecurity and positioning our ports for hub status in the West and Central African regions.”

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