The Managing Director of Dominion Global Logistics Ltd., Amb. Ochi Emmanuel Ode, in this interview laments the state of the maritime sub-sector, even as he speaks on the gridlock on the road leading to the Apapa Ports.
You are a stakeholder in the Nigerian Maritime services. What is the current situation in the Lagos Ports?
I think, regarding the maritime services in Nigeria, there is the need for changes to be brought to bear. Apart from oil revenue, maritime revenue is the second earner of revenue for the government. But, what the government is doing regarding the reforms have been lip service. Today, they are talking about 24-hour clearance of cargoes.
Have they set up machinery to verify if it is effective or not?
Today, it takes about two weeks for a container laden with raw materials and merchandise to be cleared in the ports.
How do you see the role of security agent to restore sanity in the ports?
As I am speaking to you, these agencies are still there doing what they should not do unchecked.
What then is the seriousness of government?
The roads leading to the ports are in deplorable condition. Government collect seven per cent levy from each import. They are supposed to be used to develop new ports. But the money ends up on other things. That is why the port roads are bad. The amenities are not there.
Where then is the seriousness of government if such a sector is left to deteriorate?
I think something seriously should be done.
The federal government in its wisdom decided to set up a task force. But the task force became part of the system. That is the problem.
Do you think the recent action of Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, over the gridlock would restore sanity to the Lagos ports?
What Ambode has done is not new. Former Governor Babatubde Fashola attempted it. After two weeks the gridlock returned. Let us hope that what Ambode is doing now will be sustained.
What do you think would be the permanent solution to the gridlock along Apapa Road that leads to the ports?
The permanent solution is to keep the truck at bay. When they want to load, they will go to the quay and not to pack on the road.