By: Afolabi Oyekunle.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has raised alarm on increasing extortion along the access roads of the Lagos and Tin Can Island Port Complexes.
This is coming on the heels of the clearance operations the Authority undertook on 16th to 18th July to rid the Port corridor of shanties and illegal erections which harbor the criminal elements who perpetrate these acts of extortion.
On the eve of the port corridor clearance operations carried out in collaboration with Lagos State Government earlier this month, the Managing Director /CEO NPA Mohammed Bello Koko had lamented that “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”.
Speaking further, Bello Koko said “we had in the past visited 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 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. Bello Koko had specifically cited that “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”.
The NPA MD/CEO 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.
The Nigerian Ports Authority under Koko had completed the perimeter fencing of the Tincan 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.
It will be recalled 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.