The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has faulted the recent enforcement of the new traffic law by the Lagos State Government which ban the use of commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada and tricycles also known as Keke NAPEP in parts of the state.
The National Vice President of ANLCA, Dr. Kayode Farinto who made the position of the association on the ban known in a roundtable with members of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Lagos on Monday said that the federal government had failed totally in her responsibility to provide good roads adding that in the last two years, freight forwarders had been flying Okada as according to him, 99% of jobs were done on bikes.
He said, “I was coming here now, I cannot get a bike, I have to come with my official vehicle. As I talk to you now, it is crisis on the road. If I have any consignment at Tincan now, I need to either trek or I go with my vehicle knowing full well that the road is very bad. We have our members who do clearance either in Mile 2 which is affiliated to PTML, some in Liverpool, some Brawal, how do we survive this?
“I think it is insensitivity on the part of the Lagos State Government and this is going to shut down the economy of this state because it is definitely going to have adverse effect on it except the government wants to tell us they are not feeling it and this is not what the Lagos state governor promised us during the electioneering campaigns. He did promise to review the issue of Okada and even make sure that they are protected. Do you call this protection?
“It is the masses that are suffering it; my members are the ones that are going to suffer it most. How do we get our cargoes cleared in the port? The federal government is unable to put the road in order, Lagos state government is coming up with a ban on Okada even affecting tricycles. Gentlemen, I think we need to sit down and look at how this year will look like.
“Today, there is the implementation of 7.5% of VAT. I have some invoices that I collected on Friday that ordinarily, it was not supposed to affect it, that we went to the bank to pay and they were telling us that we cannot pay because implementation began on the 1st of February. We have to go for another invoice to reflect the 7.5% VAT.
“I think it is high time we declare Force Majeure because our members will not continue to pay demurrages on these consignments. Federal Government must be up and doing, Lagos State Government should be seen to be responsible. I expect that they should be sensitive to the plight of the masses as any government that displays insensitivity on the plight of the masses is very wicked government. This is not the best time to place Okada ban even if you want to place Okada ban, it should not be in a commercial area like Apapa.”
While admitting that there were security concerns as it affects operators of the commercial motorcycles, he however argued that the concerns were not enough as to place a total ban such that it had to be extended to tricycle operators.
“This is pure wickedness; there is no other language for this”, he concluded.
Photo: ANLCA National Vice President, Dr. Kayode Farinto
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