• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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NPA decries increased extortion on port access road

NPA threatens to delist licences of non-compliant barge operators

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has decried increasing extortion on roads leading to the Lagos and Tin-Can Island Ports.

The NPA, which recently cleared the port corridor of shanties that harboured criminal elements who perpetrate these acts of extortion, said extortion and allied illegalities were injurious to trade facilitation.

Speaking on the eve of the port corridor clearance operations carried out in collaboration with the Lagos State government, Mohammed Bello-Koko, managing director of NPA, said the extortion was affecting trade facilitation, as it makes nonsense of the gateways to the national economy.

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“We had in the past imposed 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 of our staff involved in these acts of sabotage, we would sanction them in line with the public service rules and our conditions of service which has zero tolerance for such malfeasance,” Bello-Koko said.

He said the authority’s fact-finding arm has identified flash points of extortion where truckers are forced to pay illegal tolls ranging from N500 to as high as N5,000.

The NPA boss had while receiving the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa earlier this month at the NPA headquarters, solicited the support of the police in tackling the extortion menace. He cited the jurisdictional rule that restricts the powers of the Port Authority Police Command (PAPC) to the port premises as the reason the NPA was calling for increased synergy between port police and officers of the Lagos State Police Command.

He further solicited the collaboration of sister government agencies operating along the port corridor to sustainably tackle this menace that is impeding the ease of doing business around our ports.