Freight forwarders shut Tin Can, demand end to extortion by Customs
Just as the EndSARS protests rock the nation, freight forwarders have shut down commercial activities at Tin Can Island Port, seeking an end to extortion by the Federal Operations Unit (FOU) of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The forwarders gathered within the Customs Processing Centre (CPC) at Tin Can Island Customs Command, holding placards that read: “End FOU extortion”, “Maritime Police blocking our containers”, “#End strikeforce #End Customs intimidation”, “#End shipping companies’ intimidation” among others.
They later moved to the second gate of the port to shut down commercial activities.
An executive member of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can, who pleaded anonymity, said the strike would continue until all the anomalies in the clearance procedure were addressed.
“How can a senior officer release a job at the port, and a junior officer of FOU stops it at Mile 2? We are moving to Apapa port and Mile 2 to confront the FOU officers,” he said.
But the Customs Area Comptroller, Tin Can Command, Musa Abdullahi, urged the protesters to put their demands in writing, while the spokesperson, Mr. Uche Ejesieme, urged them not to allow the protest to be hijacked by hoodlums.
At the command level, Ejesieme assured them, “we are looking at some of the issues raised by the protesters, which, of course, cannot be isolated from the issue surrounding the #EndSARS brouhaha.”
In a related development, the #EndSARS protest has spread to the Lagos Port Complex Apapa and the Tin Can Island Port, paralysing movement.
That was before the Lagos state Government imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state, which took effect from 4p.m. yesterday.
Also, youths under the aegis of the United Apapa Forum joined the protest.
The patron, Victor Nangibo, said: “We don’t care whom the protest affects because we are shutting all the entry points to the seaports and we don’t know when it will end.
“We have other agitations. We have been marginalised for a long time. We live in Apapa where the two major seaports are situated, yet we don’t have jobs and when we write to NPA, they will ignore us and instead send SARS operatives to hunt us.”