PORTS DECONGESTION: Apapa Port still overloaded

….As transporters suspends ops to protest multiple extortions by LASTMA officials

By Godwin Oritse and Godfrey Bivbere

As part of efforts to free the port access corridors, the enlarged Presidential Port Standing Task Team, PSTT, will, today, flag-off the second phase of its ‘Operation Free The Ports Access Corridor’ programme, after successfully completing the first phase.

Speaking during the flag-off at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, Headquarters, in Lagos, over the weekend, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Mrs Ajani Magdalene, noted that the operation is an offshoot of the implementation of the Nigerian Ports Process Manual, NPPM, of which its effective and successful implementation will change the narrative and Corruption Perception Index, CPI, by the Transparency International about Nigeria.

The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Inland Waterways, Maritime Services Department, Mr. Adams Ofie, stated that the Ministry is aware of the major challenges of the enlarged PSTT, due to inadequate logistics and operational needs for more robust and effective implementation of the team’s mandate.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi had on April 14, 2022, flagged off the operation to remove all illegal checkpoints and shanties along the port corridors while eliminating traffic gridlock and corrupt practices that have been impediments to the ease of doing business in Nigerian ports.

Meanwhile, transporters in Lagos have concluded plans to down tools today to protest multiple extortion of drivers by officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and the Nigeria Police.

Speaking to Vanguard on the planned protest, comrade Hassan Adekoya, Chairman Lagos Task Force of the National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, said that the high level of extortion has become unbearable as most transporters are closing shops and running out of business.

Adekoya also alleged that officials of LASTMA earlier came into Apapa to arrest trucks carrying export cargoes thereby disrupting exports, which are billed to be loaded into waiting vessels.

He stated: “Transporters will shut down Lagos on Monday (today) over LASTMA extortion and brutality of drivers, trailer drivers will withdraw their services.

“The placards and banners are ready for the protest. There will not be any form of movement on Monday.”

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