By Richards Adeniyi
The House of Representatives on Thursday resolved to investigate an alleged extortion of truck drivers in Apapa by security operatives.
The House believed that the extortion was responsible for the traffic challenges as operatives delayed the movement of trucks drivers who refused to cooperate with them.
The House took the resolution consequent upon a motion titled “Urgent Need to Investigate the unwarranted Extortion of Truck Operators and other Port users by Law Enforcement Agents at Apapa Port”, moved at Thursday plenary by Olusola Fatoba from Ekiti State.
Moving the motion, Fatoba said that the truck operators pay as high as N200,000 to N300,000 to gain access into the port.
He said the House is worried that law enforcement agents that are supposed to maintain law and order at the port have now formed a “cartel” in cahoots with unscrupulous port officials, extorting money ranging from N200,000 to N300,000 per truck to gain entrance into the port, to load or offload containers.
He said the “ugly trend” had been going on unabated for years, “but became worse after naval officers were removed from the operations, as the sum of N60,000 to N100, 000 was extorted when the naval officers were in charge of the operation”.
He said the House was also worried that as a result of the activities of law enforcement agents in Apapa, “a truck may spend up to two months before gaining access into the terminal which is causing a lot of hardships and huge increase in the cost of doing business which may inevitably lead to unrest and breakdown of law and order by the frustrated and oppressed truck operators”.
He expressed concern about the general perception, especially, by importers, exporters, clearing and forwarding agents and truck operators that the problems are lingering because of the belief that the leadership of the law enforcement agencies concerned were benefiting directly or indirectly from the crises, “hence there is no incentive for them to proffer enduring solution”.
Adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Works and Housing to investigate the activities of law enforcement agents at the port with a view to finding a lasting solution to the gridlock.
The committee was given four weeks to conclude its assignment and report back to the House.