No fewer than 30 illegal toll points have sprung up around the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos, where bribes are being collected before trucks are allowed into the port, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has disclosed.

The Acting Managing Director, NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko disclosed this during the meeting with Governor of Lagos State, 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 stated that NPA has been inundated with complaints of extortion 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.

According to him, it has been alleged that no less than 30 “toll-points” have sprung up around the Apapa and Tin Can Port, where bribes are being collected before trucks are allowed into the ports.

Bello-Koko said “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 the 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.”

He directed the Truck Transit Park (TTP) to deploy necessary infrastructure such as bollards, spikes and automated barriers, while CCTVs be fully installed at the port gates (entry and exit points), especially at the TInCan Island Port where such equipment are practically non-existent at the moment.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu assured that the state is going to work closely with the NPA in ensuring that that truck call-up system is successful and the nation’s economy benefits optimally.

Sanwo-Olu called on all port users to be alert to their responsibilities in putting an end to the gridlock in Apapa.He said there was a need for port service providers, security agencies and NPA to adhere to their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) as well as invest in the needed infrastructure which would galvanise the “Eto” system to heightened performance.

He assured that the State Government would commence engagements with the petroleum tanker drivers, tank farm owners and the NUPENG Union, to ensure that they are factored into the “Eto” call-up system.

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