South-East Shippers protest suspension of activities at Onitsha River port

From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha

The South-East Shippers Association has protested the constant suspension of activities at Onitsha River Port in Anambra state.

The group said that Onitsha port is a natural deposit which Nigeria should concentrate on the revenue it generates rather than playing politics of ethnicity.

The President of Anambra State Shippers Association Mr. Emma Akpaka in a protest letter described the suspension of activities at the port as political motivated against the Southeast zone.

The group lamented the dilapidated Niger road that connects the River port to the Main Market that has become a death trap for the users.

“We see it as political and sabotage against us. We don’t want what happened to Warri port to happen in Onitsha port. Warri wharf was labeled a gateway for arms and ammunition. Those who should protest were silent because they did not know that it was conspiracy, until those who were illegally disengaged moved to the creeks to forment trouble.

When Onitsha River port became operational in 2017, we celebrated and expected that henceforth, Onitsha will soon be in the same page with Jakarta in Indonesia, Guangzhou in China, Bangkok in Thailand etc. Indeed that expectation was right, but there is no enabling environment to augment the contributions of federal ministry of transport.

Niger street, the only road that links the wharf to Onitsha main market is collapsed. Our expectation since 2017 is that this road would be rehabilitated with speed. But the road is so bad that any heavy-duty truck that tries to pass through it must fall.

“Therefore, Anambra State shipper are calling on the state government to come to our aid immediately by giving this road a facelift. To worsen the situation, agents of state government have capitalized on the bad roads to waylay our customers from across the country and beyond. Their targets are commercial goods in tricycles and vehicles. They do this under the guise of internally generated revenue. This action has frustrated many of our customers.

“We equally advice governor Willie Obiano to facilitate the building of a jetty at the bank of the River Niger. This will serve as alternative route to our customers, instead of wasting many hours on the bridge due to traffic”said Akpaka.

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