By Godwin Oritse
The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, has enlisted the support of the Nigerian Police in curbing the activities of extortionists and other forms of illegalities along the roads leading to Apapa and TinCan Island Port Complex.
This is said to be in line with the implementation of action points in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the NPA and the Lagos State Government (LASG) on truck traffic control and enforcement in Apapa and environs signed on 8th March, 2022.
The Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, while receiving the Police Assistant Inspector General, AIG, Zone 2 Command, Bode Adeyinka Adeleke, and his counterpart in the Maritime Police Command, Ibrahim Kaoje, last week at the NPA headquarters, had lamented the proliferation of illegal checkpoints along the ports corridor.
He got the consent of the two Police chiefs to join the NPA management for an on-the-spot check of the port access road to ascertain the reality on the ground.
The check which was conducted last Sunday had in attendance the NPA management, the two AIGs, Lagos State Commissioner of Police and representative of the Lagos State Government.
Vanguard Maritime Report learnt that the team confirmed the reality of several illegal checkpoints against which the AIGs promptly issued directive that they should be dismantled with a marching order to the Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPO) to ensure sustainability of orderliness as they will be held accountable for breaches going forward.
Also, a special mobile court has been assigned by the Lagos State Government to ensure speedy dispensation of justice and fast track the prosecution of persons arrested while perpetrating acts of extortion, unauthorized collections, illegal checkpoints or any other unwholesome practice inhibiting the ease of doing business around the ports.
It will be recalled that previous efforts at curbing the acts of extortion being aided and abetted by uniformed men and other officials of government had been hampered by issues of jurisdictional overlaps between the Ports Police and the Lagos State Police Command.
With this partnership between the NPA and the two Police Commands whose jurisdiction covers the Lagos maritime logistics ring, it is expected that those conducting business in the ports will heave a sigh of relief.