The high level of extortion along the port access road, especially the one leading to Nigerian busiest ports, Lagos and Tin Can Island Port Complexes is of concern to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
Already, NPA has carried out clearance operations on 16th to 18th July, 2023 to rid the port corridor of shanties and illegal erections which harbour the criminal elements who perpetrate these acts of extortion.
The exercise was carried out in collaboration with the Lagos State Government earlier this month.
According to the Managing Director of NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello Koko said 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 the national economy which the ports constitute.
Continuing, he said: “We had in the past visited punitive measures on of 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 and our conditions of service which has zero tolerance for such malfeasance”.
Koko had whilst receiving the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Idowu Owohunwa earlier this month at the NPA Headquarters enlisted the support of the police in tackling the extortion menace.
He specifically cited 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 the Lagos State Police Command.
It is on record that NPA boss had earlier met with the leadership at various levels of the Nigerian Army, the Navy, the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) stressing on the pressing need to collectively nip the menace of extortion in the bud.
In the same vein, the NPA under Koko had completed the perimeter fencing of the Tin Can Island Port to curb unauthorized access to the port premises. However, the sanity achieved by this measure is localized within the port whilst majority of these illegalities happen along the port access road which is not within the NPA’s purview.
Maritime Bits had reported that the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) had in March, 2023 published a video footage showing the assault these extortionists visit on trucks inbound and outbound the port corridor.
NPA has identified flash points of extortion ranging from N500 to as high as N5, 000 and the mode of perpetration.
It solicits the collaboration of sister government agencies operating along the port corridor to sustainably tackle this menace that is impeding ease of doing business around our ports.