Detailed investigations by Shipping Position Daily have revealed how some personnel of the Nigerian Army allegedly engage in illegal activities to circumvent the electronic call-up system of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).
The Electronic call up system, code named eto, is being managed by Truck Transit Park Limited. It is meant to regulate movement of trucks into the ports in Lagos.
Our findings revealed that the military men have found allies in truck owners, who now pay as much as N80, 000 to N100, 000 from truck owners to help them drive one truck into the port without going through the rudiment of the electronic call-up system.
Our correspondents confirmed that not less than 150 trucks painted in military colours are moved into the port on a daily basis. This activity starts at about 8pm, when these Military Police who are regarded as ‘untouchable’ by other security officials whose duty is to ensure that all trucks entering the port get the e-call up access card, gain access into the port.
Shipping Position Daily gathered from active players in haulage business that the Military Police now see illegal movement of trucks directly into the port as very lucrative as long as the truck owners can meet the demand.
Recall that, in an exclusive chat with Shipping Position Daily, the acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Mr. Mohammed Bello Koko, while highlighting the challenges of the e-call up system had alleged that military men are being engaged by truck owners to move trucks into the port thereby frustrating the effort of the e-call up system.
Also while appearing before the House of Representatives, he reinstated that Military men escort trucks without ticket into the port while also extorting truck drivers at the port.
Confirming Shipping Position Daily findings, the Vice President of Corporate Fleet Truck Owners Association, and President of Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA) Mr. Leye Thompson told our correspondent that indeed some truck owners paint their trucks in military colour to breach the electronic call-up system for trucks.
According to him, a lot of questionable people have infiltrated the system by hiding under the name of the military to move their trucks into the port at will.
He confirmed that more than 100 trucks painted in Nigeria Army colour are moved on a daily basis to the port, even as he called on the Director of Nigeria Army Transport Division to provide details of the number of trucks owned by the Nigeria Army in other to fish-out the perpetrators who disguise their trucks as though they belong to the Nigeria Army.
Explaining further, he said: “I don’t believe the Nigerian Army has a transport division that has that number of trucks that are plying the road on daily basis. A lot of people are painting their trucks to their (army) colour because many people know the Military is not paying and they don’t respect the rules.
“But if the system is well-managed, even if you are from the Presidency they should be able to manage you. When you get to the gate and you find out that you cannot enter the port without following due process, you will go and queue up, but because people have the belief that the military is above the law, if not there is no reason why someone will just be coming from nowhere without following the normal process.
“I blame the Nigeria Port Authority as well. The MD is saying it is because of the Military. Why didn’t he write to the Military Authority? They should write letters to them on the procedures of getting to the port stating that some of their men are looking down on the procedures.
“I am 100 percent sure that it is only a few of the trucks that are genuine, not all. I don’t think the Nigeria Army has up to 200 trailers. I don’t believe that.
“What we have on our roads daily are sometimes over 100. People who have painted their trucks with Nigeria Army color are more than 200.
“The Director of Nigeria Army Transport Division should be contacted and asked how many trucks they have and the number of those functioning. If you get the record, then you can use that to determine this. But I am not sure they have up to that. A lot of people have infiltrated the system and hiding under their names to move the trucks at will” he said.
Also confirming the allegation, a truck owner and member of COMTUA, Mr. Abdullahi Inuwa also confirmed that military officers do come in the night to pass trucks without tickets into the port.
He said, “what you see in the day is not what you see in the night, a lot of military personnel that are high ranking do come in the night and you will be surprised at the calibre of their ranks coming in to pass trucks into the port
“Then if you as a junior officer see your seniors allowing trucks to go in, what can you do, when you go now to ‘signal barrack’ you will see trucks parked there painted in military colour; that place has become their parking lot, I am sure about four or five trucks are parked there now’ at times even the drivers are given camouflage uniforms so those ones are untouchable” he said.
However, when our correspondent visited the Army Signal Barrack in Apapa, he was referred to Arakan Barracks’ also in Apapa by one of the senior officers who said he could not give any information regarding the allegation.
When our correspondent got to the Arakan barrack, a senior military officer who refused to disclose his identity told our correspondent that the Army is also in search of those who use military uniform to move trucks into the port, even as he did not deny the allegations that some military men maybe involved in the processes.
He said: “The same way you are looking for them is the same way we are looking for them, if there are people who disguise as military police or military to move truck into the port, we will catch them, but for now it is still circumstantial evidence
“More so, it is wrong for anybody to say military should not have more than a certain number of trucks on the road, if you see any truck and you are not sure about whether or not it belongs to the military, you can further do your job; snap and bring evidence, then we will know what to do from there”, he said.
Kindly like us on Facebook