The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), on Thursday in Lagos, said non-state actors (touts) would be removed from the corridor of the seaports.
Executive Secretary, NSC, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, said to achieve this, the Council would collaborate with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Lagos State Task Force Team.
He made this known during a meeting with the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA), NSC, NPA and Lagos State Task Force Team.
Jime, who was represented by Mr. Cajetan Agu, Director, Consumer Affairs, NSC, noted that removing the touts would reduce extortion on the port corridor.
“We are here today to address issues being raised by COMTUA which has to do with the Eto call-up system, harassment and extortion being experienced at the port corridor.
“There should be decorum in terms of traffic management because whatever is being experienced by the truckers in terms of cost or otherwise is passed to the importer and thus results in increase in prices of goods,” he said.
As regards Eto, Jime said its purpose was to remove human interface and thereby fight extortion, adding that the agencies involved would sit down and discuss ways to address the issue.
He urged truckers to note that the call-up should be on need basis by terminals, “stay in approved parks until called, shun giving bribes, always call the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority when trucks break down.”
Jime stressed that enforcement teams should be moving around to have an experience of what the truckers are complaining about and to ensure sanity on the port corridor.
Mr. Anda Emmanuel, Principal Manager, NPA, representing Tin-Can Port Manager, noted that the authority had launched bikers that would go round to monitor obstruction and gridlock on the port corridor.
Emmanuel noted that it was true that there were illegal checkpoints and they had brought it to the notice of the authority for action.
As regards Eto, he said it was work in progress, adding that the truckers should understand that there was time belt for everything, empty containers, exports and others.
“Truckers should not try to cheat the system because they will be caught and we will block all leakages and ensure that they come out from garages when called,” he said.
Mr. Collins Dike, Nation Organising Secretary, who represented the president of COMTUA, called for synergy between truck terminals releasing trucks and seaport terminals receiving them.
According to Dike, trucks released from Eto spend over three days on the road because seaport terminals are not ready to receive them.
“From Mile 2 to Tin-Can, there are 18 checkpoints manned by security agents and their cronies and we spend as much as from N40,000 to N70,000, which is meant for passing trucks,” he said.
Also, Mr. Godwin Ikeji, member Board of Trustees of COMTUA, listed some of their complaints as: high-handedness of the taskforce team, use of thugs to extort money and towing moving vehicles.
He pointed out that the issue of individualising problems, being asked to call a private number when there are issues should be looked into, calling for setting up a good structure to address challenges.
Mr Olayinka Olawole, Assistant Director at the Ministry of Transportation, urged the truckers to demand for tickets when their vehicles are towed and if vehicles are driven and not towed, they could petition the officer.
According to him, when a vehicle breaks down, if truckers initiate a call to that regards, they would be billed for only towing. but if the towing van comes on their own, they would get a ticket plus fine.