Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has raised alarm on increasing extortion along the access roads to Apapa and Tin Can Island ports.
This is coming on the heels of the clearance operations the Authority undertook last week to rid the port corridor of shanties and illegal erections which harbor the criminal elements who perpetrate acts of extortion.
On the eve of the port corridor clearance operations carried out by NPA in collaboration with Lagos State Government, the Managing Director, NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko warned that these acts of extortion and allied illegalities are injurious to trade facilitation.
“We cannot allow these nefarious characters make nonsense of the gateways to the national economy which the ports constitute. 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,” he said.
Koko 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.
According to him, the jurisdictional rule that restricts the powers of the Port Authority Police Command (PAPC) to the Port premises, is another reason for increased synergy between PAPC and officers of the Lagos State Police Command.
The NPA MD also recently 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.
NPA, under Koko, has 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 as most of these illegalities happen along the port access roads.
Recall that the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) in March 2023 published a video footage showing the assault these extortionists visit on trucks inbound and outbound the port corridor.
The Authority’s fact finding has identified flash points of extortion ranging from N500 to as high as N5,000 and the mode of perpetration.
NPA, however, 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 the ports.