By Steve Agbota
Major truck owners operating in Lagos ports have accused the officers of the Nigeria Police, Lagos State Traffic Maintenance Authority (LASTMA), official of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Truck Transit Park of extortion.
The truck owners who spoke as members of Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA), and concerned stakeholders said that implementation of the e-call up system is fraudulent and opened to sabotage.
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 Daily Sun, 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. 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.
President of COMTUA; Mr Leye Thompson, who spoke on the incidence, said the group had 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.
“When they came in, they said they would be charging us N10,000, that is you pay your N10,000, you meet all the requirements, under 24 hours you will be in the port. We looked at it as a fantastic one, they did it the first week, it worked and we praised them, not knowing that it was the effect of the work of the (disbanded) Presidential Task Team that we saw in the first and second week.
“From N10,000, it went to N21,250, within the space of one week, it became N31,250”, he noted.
According to him, by the third week, the electronic call-up system had collapsed and everyone thought it was a teething problem that would soon stop.
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 construction company, who will only open the road after they have been ‘settled’”, he said.