Traders in South East have raised alarm over alleged seizure of their imported goods worth millions of naira by the authorities and handling agencies at the nation’s ports.
The traders under the agies of South East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (S.E.A.M.A.T.A.) appealed to the National Assembly to prevail on the concerned authorities to release the seized consignments.
In a Save-Our-Soul petition sent to the National Assembly cosigned by the President of the association, Chief Gozie Akudolu and his Secretary, Alex Okwudiri, the traders regretted that the seizure had continued to attract dumorage since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
They said the dumorage was already running into millions of naira with its corresponding 500 percent increase in cost of imported goods as well as over 80 percent of the market value of the goods.
According to the petition, some of traders had already become hypertensive, resulting to other health challenges occasioned by the seized consignments being their only source of livelihood.
The petition partly read, “The cargoes and consignments of our members are lying at the facilities of the handling companies at the ports all these period of lockdown while the interest on the loans and overdrafts with which the goods were imported are accumulating with the banks.
“The worst now came with the cargo handling companies that had, over these periods, shut down and refused services to our members, but are now demanding dumorage for the consignments.
“Our members are being punished for the offence of the handling companies who shut their offices and services and never allowed them to take delivery of their goods in good time.
“If the National Assembly failed to intervene promptly to salvage the situation, the traders will not only incur huge financial looses, but will not repay their bank loans and overdrafts.”