By Steve Agbota
Amidst efforts by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Lagos State Government to enhance ease of doing business at port, shippers, truckers and clearing agents said they have lost over N10. 6 billion between 2016 and 2021 to extortion along the port access roads.
The corrupt practices are allegedly carried out by security personnel including the Nigeria Police, LASTMA and other task force teams stationed to control traffic around the port corridors.
Truckers who spoke with Daily Sun, on Apapa-Oshodi expressway, said that there are over 30 illegal checkpoints along the Apapa port corridors, now termed borders of extortion. They argued that even with the deployment of electronic call up system, extortion by security agents and hoodlum is still very rampant on the road.
They further alleged that people are collecting illegal fees from truckers on the port access roads are the one frustrating the E-call up system launched by NPA last year.
However, investigation revealed that the security agents allegedly extort truck drivers and agents to the tune of N270, 000 per truck before allowing them access into the seaports. While the said illegal collections by members of the task force pocketed N300 million per week, the illegal collections could amount to over N1.3 billion annually.
Speaking with Daily Sun, the Deputy Managing Director of Peniel Gera International Limited, an export company, Ojiefoh Enahoro Martins, said extortion on Lagos ports access roads is already an industry on its own worth billions of naira monthly.
“The same people fighting extortion are the same people organising it in Lagos port. Extortionists are now formidable cartels that need good political will and action to deal with. “Extortion has been on the rise in the past few years, especially from 2017 to 2021 when it worsened…”