Apapa gridlock
File: Gridlock

…As NASS, NSC seek easy clearance for charitable import

By Levinus Nwabughiogu & Godfrey Bivbere

ABUJA—Worried by the continued gridlock and other traffic challenges in Apapa Port axis, the House of Representatives, Thursday, resolved to investigate an alleged extortion of truck drivers by the terminal security operatives.

The House believed that the extortion was responsible for the traffic challenges as operatives delayed the movement of truck drivers who refused to give gratification.

The House took the resolution consequent upon a motion titled, “Urgent Need to Investigate the unwarranted Extortion of Truck Operators and other Port users by Law Enforcement Agents at Apapa Port”, moved at the plenary by Olusola Steve Fatoba from Ekiti State.

Moving the motion, Fatoba, alleged that truck operators pay as high as N200,000 to N300,000 to gain access into the port.

He said: “The House notes that the Apapa Port in Lagos has been enmeshed in crisis and traffic gridlock over a long time which led to the establishment of a Presidential Task Team to restore law and order on the roads leading to the nation’s seaports.

“The House also notes that a team of law enforcement agents comprising men of the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) and others are at the Port to maintain law and order and control vehicular movement in and out of the Port, particularly, movement of trucks going in to load and unload containers at the Port;

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“Worried that the law enforcement agents that are supposed to maintain law and order at the Port have now formed a “cartel” with unscrupulous staff of APM Terminals Apapa/Nigerian Ports Authority, extorting money from each truck operator in amounts ranging from N200, 000.00 to N300, 000.00 to gain entrance into the Port, to load or offload containers and this ugly trend has been going on unabated for years, but   became worse after the Naval officers were removed from the operations, as the sum of N60, 000.00 to N100, 000.00 were extorted when the Naval Officers were in charge of the operation;

“Also worried that as a result of the activities of the law enforcement agents, a truck may spend up to two months before gaining access into the terminal which is causing a lot of hardships and huge increase in the cost of doing business which may inevitably lead to unrest and break down of law and order by the frustrated and oppressed truck operators.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Works and Housing to investigate the activities of law enforcement agents and terminal operators at the Port with a view to finding a lasting solution to the suffering of the truck operators.

It also urged the Nigerian Ports Authority and the concessionaire, APM Terminals Apapa (APMT) to fashion out modalities and processes that will be in conformity with international best practices on truck management at the port.

The committee was given four weeks to conclude its assignment and report back to the House for further legislative action.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly and the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC in a bid to improve the clearance of charitable goods from the nation’s seaports, yesterday, held a stakeholders consultative forum aimed at creating a Standard Operating Procedure, SOP for None Governmental Organisations’, NGOs.

Vanguard

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