By Godwin Oritse

Ports operations were disrupted yesterday as members of National Association Road Transport Owners, NARTO, drivers and other transportation groups embarked on protest against alleged extortion by some agencies of the government.

A visit to the vicinity by Vanguard showed no vehicular movement in and out of the ports, a development that could lead to another round of port congestion. The protesting drivers carrying placards with various inscriptions such as “#EndLastmaExtortion”, ‘#WeSayNoToLASTMAExtortion’, ‘Down review of ETO booking fee’, just as they also said that they will not bring their vehicles back until the government takes action on their demands. Speaking on the development, a driver, Mr. Friday Jakal, said that the trucking business has become unattractive because of the high level of extortion from various government officials. Jakal said that these extortionists have turned drivers and transporters to their Automated Teller Machine, ATM.

He said: “ We are frustrated, officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Police and unscrupulous elements collecting tolls from transporters has made the business unattractive for us.

“As I speak to you seven of my trucks are parked in my garage and they will remain there for as long as possible until this issue of extortion is resolved once and for all.”

Also speaking to Vanguard,  the Lagos State Chairman of NARTO, Comrade Kayode Odunowo, said the extortion by these various agencies have become unbearable for transporters hence the protest.

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