• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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How multiple illegal checkpoints threatens port business

How multiple illegal checkpoints threatens port business

For several years now, port businesses have been suffering many encumbrances following the mounting of illegal checkpoints by security operatives in charge of controlling truck traffic on the port corridors.

Created for the purpose of rent-seeking, checkpoints have serious cost implications for consignees and haulage operators as these security operatives subject haulage operators to payment of illegal fees and tolls before they could access the port.

For instance, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) recently took a count of the number of illegal checkpoints on the Apapa and Tin-Can Island Ports corridors and discovered that between 26 and 36 illegal checkpoints are mounted on both corridors on a daily basis.

These points are put up by officers of Nigerian Police, Army, LASTMA, Road Safety, Customs, NPA Security, Local Government, and even thugs. To pass through the checkpoints, close to N100, 000 is extorted per trip from haulage operators to access the port despite having a valid electronic call-up ticket known as an Eto ticket.

Lawal Yusuf Othman, president of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), said recently that illegal checkpoints have been impacting the truck business negatively.

Read also: Apapa: Over 26 illegal checkpoints hurt haulage business

He called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of transporters by putting effective processes in place to end the activities of unknown individuals who erect illegal collection points along port roads to extort, intimidate and harass transporters.

Magdalene Ajani, permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, said recently in Lagos during the flag-off of ‘Operations Free the Port Corridor,’ that checkpoints impact negatively on ease of doing business at the ports.

According to her, there are 26 illegal checkpoints that delay the movement of cleared consignments leaving the port.

“We get the containers out, but to drive from terminals to Liverpool takes another six hours due to the illegal checkpoints,” she added.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of the NPA, who disclosed that the existence of the checkpoints contributes to traffic gridlock on the port roads, said the Authority is working with the Nigerian Police to identify and brand all the legal checkpoints on the port corridor.

While saying that the approved checkpoints would soon be made public, he said the Police have agreed to be deploying officers at the approved points on weekly basis to avoid rent-seeking.

He said the development would not only dislodge the illegal checkpoints but would also help to reduce the gridlock that comes with their existence.