Onitsha Wharf: South-East Shippers Condemn Frequent Suspension

Onitsha Wharf

When in October 2020, the media went into frenzy, both new and conventional, with the news of Onitsha port coming alive again after 42 years of closure. Pictures went viral and many thought that finally it is uhuru for the southeast who have been deprived of everything meant to support commerce in the region.
As information went rife that this administration meant well for the economic wellbeing of the east, considering the importance of such facility in the region, ittle did they know that it was all a smokescreen considering as events have unfolded.
Therefore, in rising to confront the deception since the wharf was not meant to function in the first place but to score cheap political point. The South East Shippers Association has condemned the frequent suspension of activities at the Onitsha Wharf, describing it as “political and clear sabotage against the people of the zone”.
The president of Anambra State Shippers Association, Mr. Emma Akpaka, who registered the displeasure of the group in a statement made available to newsmen in Onitsha, warned that they do not want a repeat of what happened to Warri port in Delta State here.
He said that Warri Port was labeled as the gateway for arms and ammunition to allow the detractors close the wharf but unfortunately those who suppose to raise alarm kept mute, apparently due to the fact that they didn’t know it was a clear case of conspiracy.
Regrettably, those who were illegally disengaged moved to the Creek to forment trouble.
He reasoned that Onitsha Port was a natural deposit and therefore efforts to harness its maximum potentials should be deployed, instead of playing ethnic card with it.
Also, the association was not happy with Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State who allowed the major road infrastructure linking the outside world with the Wharf and the Onitsha Main Market to collapse.
Appealing to the Governor to give the Niger Street axis of Onitsha a facelift, the association boss lamented that in the past seven and half years of Governor Obiano’s administration, he did not visit the wharf, and for this the association is not happy about it.
“The association and the wharf authorities expected words of encouragement from the Anambra State Governor, which failed to come.” He said.
“His silence on the wharf could be misinterpreted that he is not happy with the Wharf functioning even with associated job creation and revenue generation”.
Another, point of grievous pain to the association is proliferation of the revenue agents of the Anambra State Government who have capitalised on the bad roads to waylay containers from across the country and beyond in their bid to collect tolls and cash.
According to the Shippers, the agents also targeted commercial goods in Keke and vehicles and their actions have frustrated many customers.
“It is unconventional and unconstitutional to buy goods in an open market and pay tax on them on streets. We are shouting because it is our duty to protect these customers or we lose them forever.”
As an alternative source of arresting the ugly situation and help increase revenue for the state, the group asked Governor Obiano to facilitate the building of Jetty at the bank of River Niger to serve as alternative route to our customers, instead of wasting many hours on the Niger Bridge due to traffic gridlock.
Finally, they pointed to another source of worry within Onitsha metropolis, which is refuse dumps that littered in every market, street and roads of Onitsha, condemning and describing it as an eyesore especially when they block majorly, the flow of traffic.
“To have Onitsha in perpetual decay is a clear case of failure or abdication of duty,” said the Shippers Association.

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