Lagos — The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has said that it has uncovered thirty extortion points in and around the port access roads, a development that has continue to rubbish the integrity of the newly introduced Electronic Call System.
In a statement signed by the Mr. Olaseni Alakija, General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communications, Acting Managing Director of NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko said that the agency is determined to put an end to the intractable traffic by in gridlock on the access roads leading to the country’s two busiest ports in Apapa.
Recall that that the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) led by its Acting Managing Director, Mr. Muhammed Bello-Koko on Saturday met with the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu to adopt stronger measures to curb corrupt practices and alleged extortion of truck drivers by traffic and security operatives along the Lagos Ports corridor.
Bello-Koko harped on the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the Apapa and Tin Can Ports roads adding that the NPA has been inundated with complaints of extortions from truckers, especially by security operatives, including the Military, the Police and NPA Security, demanding money from drivers before accessing the Ports.
He described the ugly practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.
Bello-Koko lamented that it has been alleged that no less than thirty “toll-points” have sprung up around the Apapa and Tin Can Port, where bribes are being collected before trucks are allowed into the Port.
Bello-Koko: “One of the complaints of the truckers has to do with extortion by security operatives, the Army, the Police, the Nigerian Navy and even NPA Security staff. This is one of the areas we require the intervention of Government, in this case the Lagos State Government because we have Police Officers deployed from the State Command who are allegedly involved in this.
“We at the NPA have resolved to take the right punitive measures against any of our staff involved in this, we have moved some of them out of Port locations, and we will do further reviews, whoever is found involved, would be appropriately sanctioned.
“Because of the involvement of several security units, many checkpoints have been created, we believe there are over thirty checkpoints within the Apapa and TinCan Port axis, and we believe that this is a major issue causing delays and a whole lot of problems, this was one of the concerns we raised at our meeting with His Excellency” he said.
He explained that last week after an assessment visit, he directed the “Eto” Project Consultant and operator of the Lilipond Truck Transit Park to redouble their efforts, especially on the deployment of necessary physical and IT infrastructure as well as adequate human resources, to address the gaps and complaints of delay from Port users.
On his part, General Manager of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr. Jide Oduyoye, said that Port users should expect a renewed vigour from LASTMA in dealing with the traffic situation around the Lagos Ports.
He said, “there are issues of tankers that are not part of the “Eto” system that needs to be part of the system, because once the roads are cleared, we suddenly find out that the petrol tankers occupy the roads which makes it look as if nothing has happened. The ongoing construction around Apapa needs to be speed up. There also the need for other road users to co-operate with the Government, if there is a process that we all adhere to, no matter the delay, it would be seen as fair and beneficial to everyone”, he advised.