Truckers protest multiple checkpoints, illegal payments in Apapa
Two weeks after BusinessDay story on how multiple checkpoints on Apapa Roads are affecting the effectiveness of electronic call-up, truck owners on Tuesday in Lagos, staged a peaceful protest in Apapa to seek the intervention of the government in dealing with the menace.
According to them, there are between 18 and 40 checkpoints mounted by the enforcement team on Apapa roads, and truckers are forced to pay an illegitimate fee of about N66,000 to N100,000 in total.
A breakdown of such checkpoints includes Orile Iganmu Bridge N2,000; Sifax N10,000; Ijora-Olopa N5,000; on top Ijora Seven-Up Bridge N1,000; Total N10,000; RRS N5,000; on top Danlami Bridge N3,000 and down Area B’ Bridge N1,000.
Other checkpoints include Area B’s jurisdiction involving three checkpoints N7,000; Airways N1,000; Eleganza N5,000; Etisalat Roundabout N1,000; Fidelity Roundabout N1,000; Niger/Old Mr.Biggs junction N10,000; Creek Road checkpoint N1,000 and Hull Blyth Nnewi building junction N3,000.
At the protest, Bala Mohammed, a truck owner, said truckers were out to protest unlawful extortion of truckers by traffic enforcement agencies such as the NPA security Department, Police, LASTMA, and FRSC whose action is affecting the economy, and killing trucking business.
“These multiple checkpoints are causing a serious backlog of traffic and it poses threats to smooth operations of electronic call-up systems, which does not require obstruction on the road. We want traffic sanity in Apapa.
Also, export trucks that are going to bring foreign exchange for the country are being turned back because the driver refused to call up despite having valid call- up tickets,” he explains.
Collins Dike, another truck owner, blamed the NPA, terminal operators, and enforcement agencies for the extortion and technical delays in the port.
He called on NPA, the Federal Ministry of Transportation to intervene in the situation to ameliorate the plight of truckers at the port.
Adeyemi Adeola, a truck owner, who noted that there has been harassment and extortion on truckers, said that 85 percent of their income goes into payment of illegal fees to uniform men.
He also called on the Federal Government to intervene in the situation.
Meanwhile, Adedenuola Orimolade, operations manager of Trucks Transit Parks Ltd, confirmed that the checkpoints are affecting the flow of trucks in and out of the port.
According to him, for every 10 minutes that trucks are checked, there would be an additional delay of 5 minutes, which will eventually take the truck 2 hours to complete a journey of an hour.
On why trucks queue on the Marine Beach Bridge, he blamed the downtime at the port terminals, which affects the movement of trucks into the port.
Responding, Adeleke Taiwo, deputy commissioner of Police Operations in Western Port Command, told the truckers that the management of the Nigeria Police Force and that of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday 18 August 2021 in line with the issues raised by truckers.
He said that the issue of checkpoints and extortions is the major agenda of the meeting that would be held in Marina, and it will also involve the leadership of truck owners associations.
He assured them that their interests and worries would be addressed even as he urged them to go back to their various trucks to continue their normal business.
Olorunshola Adebola, a truck owner, also complained that trucks coming from White Sand must pay N5,000 to LASTMA officials before the truck would be allowed to the port, and the same thing applies in Niger bus stops.
He said these payments are against the electronic call-up because truckers pay close to N100,000 per trip to access the port, and this affects the economy negatively.