The Nigerian Ports Authority sets up a committee to check the activities of security and traffic officials operating at the seaports in Lagos following complaints by truck drivers over extortion
By Pita Ochai
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has intensified efforts toward curbing the excesses of security and traffic officials operating at the seaports in Lagos. This came following several complaints about extortion of truck drivers. The NPA recently constituted a committee made up of stakeholders charged with the responsibility of handling cases of allegations of extortion of truck drivers.
General Manager, Public Affairs of NPA, Captain Iheanacho Ebubeogu, said the committee was at the instance of the management of the Western Ports unit of NPA. Headed by the General Manager in charge of the Western Ports, Michael Ajayi, the committee is primarily set up to allay the fears of extortion by members of the various trucking unions operating along most of the access roads within the Lagos ports corridor. The membership of the committee is drawn from NPA-accredited truckers unions, fleet operators, security and traffic agencies.
Some of the trucking unions represented on the committee include Association of Maritime Transport Owners (AMARTO), Joint Council of Seaport Truck Operators (JACOST), National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), and Truck Drivers Unit of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), among others.
Ajayi said the committee would investigate all such allegations with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The truckers, who attributed the worsening extortions to the perennial gridlocks on most ports access roads in Apapa, said that this ugly development has made loading consignments at the Lagos Ports a nightmare for both drivers and transport agents. Chairman of AMARTO, Remi Ogungbemi, confirmed the development, saying there are extortions of very high magnitude by security and traffic operatives. “Many of the security and traffic officials you find on port access roads and gates are there because of the money they extort from truck drivers,” he said.