Touts popular called ‘Area boys’ have taken over traffic control at the ever-busy the Mile 2 to Tin Can Port access road to extort motorists and truck drivers who ply the route on daily basis.
The miscreants are also joined by security personnel who were drafted to control the huge vehicular traffic, especially by tankers and container-laden trucks.
The development is emboldened by the fact that the electronic call up system that was introduced by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has continued to falter.
Investigations by our reporter revealed that for the past few weeks, there have been many cases of robbery and smashing of car glasses in traffic along the port access roads.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that early last month, two motorcycle snatchers were caught and set ablaze on top of the Mile 2 bridge.
The breakdown of the e call-up system has drawn many trucks to the expressway. The touts have taking over the port access roads, this has also given room for security agents and member of the taskforce to extort truckers and tanker drivers.
Some of the truck drivers who spoke to our correspondent last week alleged that they have been losing their motor batteries and other valuable items on a daily basis to the area boys who have become lords in the area.
They added that, no truck driver can resist the threat of the hoodlums, because they work hand-in-hand with the security personnel.
Our correspondent saw that men of the taskforce were collecting N2000 per tanker before it is allowed access to the depot while truckers also part with a similar amount to be able to advance towards the port.
The truckers alleged that officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), the Police and other security agents were among the forces frustrating the e-call system.
A truck driver who simply identified himself as Abel, said that the security agents now come with POS in the night to extort drivers.
He told our correspondent last week that: “When I ran out of cash a few days ago and it was my turn for them to pass me and I was left with N1,000. I told them I did not have enough cash. One of them said ‘bring your ATM card, we have a POS’. They deducted N10, 000 from my account and they refused to give me a confirmation slip. At a stage, I thought they were joking. When they brought out the POS from their bag, I was so surprised”.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator, Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNIFFIEC), Chief Osita Chukwu also confirmed that ‘areas boys’ are taking undue advantage of the poor port road to cause havoc.
He said a lot of robberies have been going on along the port access road. “I have been a victim twice there. My glass was broken and they robbed us. They even used guns to rob us there.
“People are using the road to park vehicles and these are the people that don’t want rehabilitation of the road to complete. I blame Governor Sanwo-olu for not putting measures in place to rescue the people that have been robbed on a daily basis on that road. Even in broad daylight, they rob on Mile 2 and at Sunrise bus stop as well as the Second Rainbow due to traffic,” he said.
Speaking on the collapse of the e-call up system, Vice Chairman, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Abdullahi Inuwa, said unfortunately, the road construction has caused a lot of damages to the e-call up initiative.
He lamented that a lot of people have been able to find ways to collapse the e-call up and they are succeeding.
“The construction company and the supervising ministry, they are not concerned about the road. I can say that because from Berger to Sunrise, everyday trucks and containers are falling, nobody is saying anything about that.
“And that will give room to those who are benefitting from the old system to perpetuate whatever they want to do on the road” he said.