• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Stakeholders decry touting, deteriorating nature of Warri port

Stakeholders decry touting, deteriorating nature of Warri port

…want FG to investigate shady deals

Apparently disturbed by the turn of events at the Warri Port in Delta State for which the ease of doing business is severely affected as touts have reportedly seized the control of the port gates, extorting truck drivers, stakeholders have lamented the dire situation, calling for thorough investigations of issues raised at the Port.

This development has further exacerbated the challenges faced by stakeholders, driving them away from patronizing the Port.

Read also: E-tags to curb congestion, enhance call-up efficiency at Lagos Ports TTP

Reports indicate that the communities surrounding the Port have taken over the Port gates, allegedly demanding N4,000 illegal fee from every truck exiting the Port, a significant increase from the previous N2,000 fee.

The sudden escalation in fees has sparked chaos and frustration among importers and truck drivers operating at the Port.

A senior official of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed dismay at the situation, highlighting the complicity of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in allowing the communities to assert control over the port gates.

The official revealed that the NPA had accorded undue importance to these communities, enabling them to exploit and extort money from trucks, leaving the Port premises.

The dire consequences of this extortion racket were exemplified when a truck attempting to load cargo at Crown Flour Mill within the Warri port area and was confronted with the sudden hike in illegal fees.

Despite the driver’s plea to revert to the previous fee of N2,000, the communities stood firm, demanding the inflated amount of N4,000 without prior notice or justification.

“How can these so called communities take over the port gate even to the Knowledge of NPA? They usually collect money from trucks leaving the port gates, but this morning we had a bitter experience

“A truck came to load cargo at Crown Flour Mill at Warri port, as the driver was coming out, before now they use to give the communities N2,000, but all of a sudden, they have increased it to N4,000 without informing anybody

“The driver begged them to collect the N2,000 with a promise to balance up the remaining money, this was around 5.30am when POS operators are yet to open. He urged them to write down his truck number and that they should stop him next time if he refuses to pay up

“The guy causing the confusion, his name is Obinna, he is not even a Itsekiri Indigene. For several hours, trucks were delayed at NPA gate as if they are the lord

“How can the port grow with all these types of rubbish that is being perpetrated by Indigenes of Delta Port? A money that is unreceipted being increased from N2000 to N4000, this is causing delay in exiting of cargoes from the port and importers are suffering huge losses.

Also speaking, another port user, Kingsley Majemite, lamented that the kind of illegality happening at Warri Port gate could never be condoned at Lagos Ports.

“Now, how do these Indigenes expect investors to come and invest their money in Niger Delta Ports?”, he asked in anger.

Read also: Customs e-auction seen ridding ports of abandoned cars, 6,000 containers

BusinessDay reports that the prevailing situation at the Warri Port underscores the urgent need for intervention by relevant Authorities to curb the activities of touts and restore order and transparency within the Port operations.

It is also gathered thag the importers, truck drivers, and other stakeholders are facing mounting challenges due to the unchecked exploitation and chaos orchestrated by the unauthorized gatekeepers.

As concerns mount over the deteriorating state of affairs at the Warri Port, stakeholders are calling for immediate action to address the illicit activities of touts and ensure the facilitation of smooth and lawful operations within the port premises.

The NPA’s failure to fulfill its commitments and curb the dominance of touts has cast a shadow of uncertainty over the future of the port and its significance as a vital trade gateway in the region.