By RICHARDS ADENIYI
TRUCK drivers operating at the Western Ports of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Lagos; lose over N5bn annually to extortion by security operatives of the NPA at port gate, National Daily can authoritatively report.
According to National Daily Investigation, the truckers pay as much as N2500 at different point to NPA security agents at ports gate who work in collaboration with officers of the Nigeria Police.
National Daily further gathered that the extortionists collecting money brazenly and recklessly at the ports are doing so because they are being backed by some top management staff hiding and staying in the office.
It was gathered that the NPA management could do nothing to stop the high level extortion despite constant complaints by truck drivers and their various associations because top management staff of NPA seek return from them.
A very reliable source in the security department of NPA confided in our correspondent that most of the security operatives at the gate spent many years at one point if they remain loyal. “If you are loyal to the person that posted you to the gate, you will stay long at that post but the moment you prove to be wise, they post you away to a less lucrative posting. See, it’s a serious issue over here.”
“The MD cannot say he is not aware of extortion at the port gate but has he done anything to stop it? None am aware of so, except for God intervention or political will of the minister, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it,” the source said.
It would be recalled that truck drivers had most time down tool to protest high level of extortion at the port gate, the management of the NPA played down their concern.
Speaking to National Daily, the Chairman, Coalition of Port Dry Cargo Transport Operators (CPDCTO), Inuwa Abdulahi said extortions by NPA security officials before accessing the ports is on the high side.
He said the General Manager, Western Ports; Michael Ajayi admitted to the extortion recently that he said truckers are losing about N5bn yearly. “You see extortions before accessing the ports are at the high level even the GM Ajayi admitted when he visited the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) but they have not done anything to stop it.”
Truckers had in September, 2015 protested the continued extortion by security agents at the Lagos Port Complex gate.