*Millions of Naira Down The Drains
The electronic call-up system set up by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to manage the movement of trucks operating into the nation’s seaports situated in Apapa, Lagos has collapsed just as gridlock on the port access roads has fully returned Maritime Bits reports.
Following the development, a yet-to-be ascertain huge sum of money used in the setting up of the call up system has gone down the drains as the management of the authority returns to the drawing board on the way out.
With the total collapse of the call up system under the watch of the NPA Managing Director, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, not a few stakeholders have raised eyebrows on her competence in handling the money spinning Federal Government parasatal which has its headquarters at Marina, Lagos,
Already, the return of the gridlock has raised mind bugging questions on the competence of the traffic management team set up by Lagos State Government to work with NPA to free the port access roads.
A recent visit to the premier port city which is home to African’s largest and busiest container ports revealed that a long line of trucks have emerged and in the process blocking and hindering the free movement and access to the nation’s seaports located in Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, Lagos.
Maritime Bits findings revealed that access to Lagos Port Complex (LPC) through Ijora and Tin Can has become a nightmare as truck drivers bribe their way to pick up cargo laden containers or drop empty ones. The trucks heading to Apapa port blocked the road from Eleganza Plaza on Wharf Road all the way to the National Arts Theatre at Iganmu, while the trucks heading to Tin Can port lined up from the Second Gate all the way to Mile Two.
The NPA had on February 27, 2021 rolled out the electronic call-up system with promises by Usman that the new system was the much-needed elixir to Apapa gridlock. NPA launched an app called eto which truckers are expected to use to book turns to enter the port. Events in recent times have shown that Usman’s promises and assurances were mere empty words.
NPA also designated some truck parks for the port-bound trucks. The trucks were expected to wait at the truck parks until it is their turn to enter the port. However, both the online booking system and truck park arrangement have fallen like a pack of cards as the trucks – tankers, container trucks, break bulk cargo trucks and factory trucks – have returned fully to the roads.
Those who spoke tour correspondent averred that the implementation of the electronic truck call-up system has not been effective because the government is not sincere in addressing the matter as it has always sabotage all efforts at resolving the issue.
According to them, organising several committees of taskforce to address the situation is not the solution, as it is an avenue to enrich certain individuals through sharp practices and other illegal activities at the port access roads. It is not a matter of committee or collaboration because there is a conspiracy among the people deployed to do the work.
They argued that those who are benefitting from the disorderliness and chaos in the system will not allow the challenges to be address headlong.
Since the collapse of the call up system, the NPA and the Lagos State Government have continued to trade blames just as port users have not been spared the burden of the absence of effective leadership in the nation’s seaports.