By Simon Ateba
Police fired teargas on Wednesday to disperse protesters at the cargo area of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, western Nigeria as the crisis between foreign airlines and Nigerian clearing and forwarding agents entered day eight.
The protesters, in their thousands, stormed the cargo terminal of the Lagos airport in a bid to have an administrative fee charged by foreign airlines cancelled. They said the fee is illegal and not charged anywhere else in the world.
“When goods are sent to us from foreign countries, all fees are paid to the airlines. It is illegal for them to collect another fee from us just to hand us the documents,” Rotimi Ojo Olaifa , a clearing agent with Admair Agencies Nigeria Limited.
He said aside for paying ‘normal’ fees to Customs, FAAN and other agencies, foreign airlines have been collecting between N30 and N35 per kilo for any consignment.
“We want them to stop charging such illegal fees,” Olaifa said.
The protesters carried placards that read “foreign airlines, stop illegal fees”; “foreign airlines, stop milking Nigerians” and “We say no to illegal charges”.
The protesters moved from their secretariat at the cargo area of the airport and staged a protest at the Customs office. They sang and danced and bowed not to stop until the foreign airlines are stopped.