Major truck owners operating in Lagos ports have raised the alarm over alleged extortion by officers of the Nigeria Police, Lagos State Traffic Maintenance Authority (LASTMA), official of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Truck Transit Park.
The truck owners, who spoke as members of Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA), and concerned stakeholders are made up of truck owning associations in the Nigerian maritime sector.
The associations are: Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and Corporate Fleet Owners.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, they alleged that between N100,000 and N150,000 was collected as bribe to facilitate trucks without electronic call-up paper to access the seaports.
They argued that trucks with genuine call-up papers are turned back at the port gate to allow for trucks with fake papers.
A truck owner, Adeyinka Aroyewun, said operators of eto call-up system are only interested in how much they can make, adding that implementation of the e-call-up system is fraudulent and open to sabotage.
To him, “whenever you have a genuine eto call-up, NPA will tell you it is fake and turn you back, but the one they know is generated by them and does not have any semblance of reality, they allow it to go and they charge between N100,000 and N150,000.
“The extortion at Apapa is being perpetrated by NPA, Police, LASTMA and personnel of TTP. But, at Tin Can, they are joined by labourers of the road construction company, who will only open the road after they have been ‘settled’”, he said.
He also expressed shock that, contrary to the agreement that the electronic call-up system will cost N10,000, truck owners now pay as much as N31,500 for the service.
In addition, they said, the system has been so compromised that trucks that have genuine electronic call-up are not allowed into the ports, even as they stated that the trucks that are currently in the terminal found their ways in, fraudulently.
They also alleged that there is a high level of collusion between officials of the Lagos State Government that were drafted into the special task force and officials of NPA, Messrs Truck Transit Park (TTP), who are the operators of the truck parks and the police.
A member of COMTUA; Mr Leye Thompson, said the group has given its support to the e-call-up system, but lamented that the operators of the e-call-up, TTP reneged on the promises they made.