Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike


A House of Representatives aspirant for the February 16, 2019 general elections under the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA Hon Iju Tony Nwabunike has made a strong case for the decentralisation of Nigeria’s seaports, saying that the current arrangement where the seaports are concentrated in one location does not make for efficiency.

Nwabunike, who doubles as the incumbent national President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ANLCA, spoke in an interview against the background of massive congestion rocking the nation’s seaports in Lagos, observed that the country lacks the basic transport infrastructure to efficiently run a centralised seaport system.

Nwabunike, who was also pioneer Executive Chairman of the governing board of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria CRFFN, is seeking to represent Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Federal Constituency of Anambra State.

According to him, only two (Lagos Ports Complex, Apapa and Onne Ports Complex, River State) out of Nigeria’s six major seaports are linked with rail tracks, a development that makes movement of consignments in and out of the seaports a herculean tasks with the attendant delays and increased transport cost.

He noted that in view of the total absence of a multi-modal transport system connecting the seaports, the only means of moving cargo in and out of the seaports has remained through the roads, many of which are in terrible state of disrepair with the attendant gridlocks on the port access roads, which implies higher haulage cost.

“I know very well that moving consignments directly to Port Harcourt or Calabar Ports for instance has to do with freight differentials but I also believe that there are ways to address such issues so as to relieve the Lagos Ports of the extra burden of handling such additional traffic.

“This will also reduce the pressure on the existing road infrastructure with the attendant high cost of fixing them arising from over-use. Above all, it would reduce the cost of haulage, which invariably reduces the price since the additional transport cost would have been passed to the final consumers of the goods in question”, he said emphatically.

While reacting to a question on what he plans to do for his immediate constituency the freight forwarding segment of the shipping industry when he wins the election, he promised to integrate the segment into the national business grid, arguing that this segment of the global trade chain has been abandoned for a very long time.

He observed that this would be done through legislative backing, insisting that several maritime laws including the Council for the Freight Forwarding Practice in Nigeria CRFFN Act 2007 are long overdue for   review and amendment, assuring that he would championed such amendments at the National Assembly.

He urged all freight forwarding and allied associations in the industry to come together and speak with one voice, arguing that the current division among the practitioners would do no one any good but rather keep polarizing them to their disadvantage.