More than 3,000 truck operators are losing N840million monthly to extortion as 40 illegal check points resurfaced on the port access roads.
According to the Council of Maritime Transport Unions Association (COMTUA), truckers are being forced to pay N10,000 daily on the road to private individuals. The union called on government for immediate dismantling of the illegal check ports.
The union debunked Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC)’s claim that it had succeeded through the Port Standing Task Team(PSTT) in removing 70 illegal check points along the ports access roads, saying that the illegal check points still exist operating fully. It would be recalled that the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSC, Mr . Emmanuel Jime, had in a conference in Lagos, said that more than 70 illegal check points along ports access roads had been dismantled.
However, the COMTUA President, Mr. Adeyinka Aroyewun, explained in Lagos that in Amuwo- Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State alone, there exist over 40 check points. The president said: “There are two extortion practitioners: State operators and non State Operators, the Police, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASMA) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).
“Those are the state actors. None state actors: the area boys and unions; which of them is no longer on that road? The police still have all these points on the road, same number of points, nothing has changed.
“The Area boys are there. The only one they have been able to remove, not totally removed but a change of location were in Area B, now they are in Ijora. They were initially at Ijesha, now they are in Ottor-Warf doing, it is the same thing.
“They take us to where we will pay N10,000 per day for storage. PSTT will claim they are not collecting money but they are somewhere where somebody would be collecting N10,000 per day, thereby allowing that person to make N70, 000 from my truck. PSTT is more of an individual than an institution.”
Aroyewun accused operators of Electronic Truck Callup of compelling truckers to book garages without using the facility, describing it as extortion and illegal, while wondering what PSTT was doing to arrest the situation.
The president argued that as the economic regulator of the maritime sector, Nigerian Shippers’ Council should determine every fee, payment and the billing. It would be recalled that in April, 2022, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) complained that the previous committees set up by the Federal and Lagos State governments to rid the port roads of gridlock had turned the port into a cash cow.
According to the Port Manager, Lagos Ports Complex, Mrs Funmilayo Olotu, camp boys and others hoodlums were fronting for officials of agencies along the port roads to extort truckers.
The port manager noted that there was multiplicity of police commands at the port, saying that there were about three police commands administering the port area alone.
Also, she explained that there was an inter-agency superiority which had hindered sharing of information among various government’ s agencies operating in the port.
Olotu explained: “Inside the port terminals, containers are checked, outside the gate, the same container is checked, moving to Leventis bus stop, the same container is checked, customs should try and expose the officer inside the terminal, who is supposed to have done the right thing but allowed the container to leave the port.
The port manager charged the new Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) recently flagged off to be resilient and unwavering in the task of ridding the Apapa port access road of corruption and extortion. Olotu advised the PSTT, headed by Comrade Moses Fadipe, to distinguish itself from extortionists.