NPA raises alarm over increasing extortion along ports access roads
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has raised alarm over increasing extortion along the access roads of Lagos and TinCan Island Port Complexes.
This is coming on the heels of the clearance operations the Authority undertook on 16th to 18th July, to rid the Ports corridor of shanties and illegal erections, which harbor the criminal elements, who perpetrate these acts of extortion.
On the eve of ports corridor clearance operations carried out in collaboration with Lagos State Government earlier this month, the Managing Director /CEO of NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello Koko had lamented that; “these acts of extortion and allied illegalities are injurious to trade facilitation, which is our core function and we cannot allow these nefarious characters make nonsense of the gateways to national economy, which the ports constitute”.
Speaking further, the MPA Boss said: “we had in the past used punitive measures on our staff who were complicit in such unethical practices, and I want to reiterate that once we are confronted with evidence of any our staff involved in these acts of sabotage, we would sanction them in line with the public service rules, because our condition of service has zero tolerance for such malfeasance”.
Mr. Bello Koko while receiving the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Idowu Owohunwa, earlier this month at NPA Headquarters, enlisted the support of Police in tackling the menace.
He specifically cited that; “the jurisdictional rule that restricts the powers of the Port Authority Police Command (PAPC) to the Port premises, is the more reason why we are calling for increased synergy between PAPC and officers of Lagos State Police Command”.
The NPA MD earlier met with the leadership at various levels of the Nigerian Army, the Navy, the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), stressing on the pressing need to collectively nip the menace of extortion in the bud.
The Nigerian Ports Authority under Mr Koko had completed the perimeter fencing of TinCan Island Port to curb unauthorized access to the port premises. However, the sanity achieved by this measure is localised within the Port, whilst majority of these illegalities happen along the ports access roads not within NPA’s purview.
Recall that the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) in March, 2023 published a video footage showing assault these extortionists carried out on trucks inbound and outbound the ports corridor
The Authority’s fact finding has identified flash points of extortion ranging from N500 to as high as N5,000 and the mode of perpetration.
The Authority solicits the collaboration of sister government agencies operating along the ports corridor to sustainably tackle this menace, which is impeding ease of doing business around our ports.