Truck owners under the auspices of both the National Association of Road Transport Owners, (NARTO) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), on Monday protested what they called unbridled extortion of truck owners and drivers by the Police and officials of the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA).
The two bodies also threatened to go on strike if the government does not look into the matter with a view to stopping, as extortion has become institutionalized in the ports.
The duo mobilized their members who carried different placards with different messages at the Tin Can port axis amidst dancing and singing.
Speaking to journalists about the protest, the Task Force Chairman, of NATRO; Prince Hassan Adekoya, said that members of his group are tired of the extortion.
Adekoya alleged that at a point, officers of the Nigerian Navy had extorted truck owners until the government brought the Presidential Task Force led by Mr. Kayode Opeifa and now the introduction of the Electronic Call up system.
He also alleged that the electronic call up system has aided the continued extortion of truck owners who have to pay as much as N30,000 into the call up system in order to access to the port to drop empty containers.
He said: “We are tired of the extortion, we had the Naval era, we had the Presidential Task Force era and the Lagos State Government has taken over with the introduction of the Electronic Call system in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority and we gave all our support and they promised us that we were going to end the issue of extortion and free the port access roads from the gridlock.
“They also promised that we were going to access the ports through the Electronic call system saying we will not pay more than N10,000 to register of the platform of the electronic call system and we accepted it but today we pay more than N30,000 on the same platform to access the ports.
“It does not end there, we still need a N100, 000 plus to access the port due to the excessive extortion from within and outside the ports. We are sick and tired of this whole thing.
“We want Government to re-interface into the system for a final solution, we know that Nigerian Ports Authority has no solution to the problem.
“We want to take back the roads and ensure free access to both the ports and other parts of Lagos, we used to access this road to Marina on the Island from Mile 2 inward Apapa to Liverpool.
“We are only creating awareness of taking responsibility for port access roads to save our businesses.”
Also speaking, the 26th Vice Chairman of RTEAN, Comrade Adeyemi Adeola said that his group is equally tired of the ongoing extortion within the ports corridor.
Adeola also said that the attention of the both the Port Managers and the Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority had been drawn to the situation but nothing has been done to stop the extortion.
According to him, “to load and drop an empty container, you have to spend as much as N45,000. even with your electronic call up slip. We are tired of this, the industry is tired of this and even the stakeholders are also tired of the issue of extortion.
“We want to stop this extortion, we say no to extortion, we want the Lagos State Government., we want the Ministry of Transport, we want the President of the this country to call the attention of the Nigerian Ports Authority to this so that we can work together to end the menace of extortion in the ports.”
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