The government set up a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which formulated the policy on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria…
Charles G. Osuegwu
When the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 sought to unseat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it presented a strong, consistent and compelling message to Nigerians and declared that it would tackle the following three major issues head-on: insecurity, corruption and rebuilding of the economy.
It is on record that the military with the full support of the Federal Government has acquitted itself creditably and recovered the territories in the North East of Nigeria, which victories recorded against the terror group caused the insurgents to scatter and go underground.
With relative peaceful atmosphere established, the government turned its attention to the corruption fight. On the economy, the government set up a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which deliberated on and formulated the policy on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, which sought to radically improve the business environment as part of the strategic goal of rebuilding and growing the economy. But the intention of government in this regard is now being hindered by the massive and unbridled extortion of entrepreneurs who import goods and the clearing agents who help to effect clearing of the containers and delivering same to the owners.
That is why today, as a patriotic citizen who is committed to the growth of the Nigerian economy, I feel compelled to draw the attention of the Vice and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, to the corrupt activities being at the Force Headquarters Annex, Kam Salem House, Moloney, Falomo, Lagos, against clearing agents and importers who legitimately use the Apapa and Tincan Ports, to bring in consignments into Nigeria.
I want to state that what is happening has become a nightmare as these people are made to part with sums of money ranging from N50,000 to N100,000 for each container from the clearing agents before any of their containers could be released from the Apapa or Tincan Ports.
The modus operandi officers involved obtaining copies of shipping manifests from shipping companies from which they learn about the container numbers. They will then write letters to the shipping companies or terminals, regarding the containers and order them to suspend the process of clearing the said containers until clearance is obtained from them. As law abiding entities, the shipping companies would comply, forcing the affected agent or the Maritime Police Unit, Force Headquarters Annexe, Kam Salem House, to negotiate with the police on how to get their containers released. They always end up forcefully parting with N50,000-N100,000 to the police on each container without being told of any maritime offence the importer of the container committed.
It is important to note that the police is one of the government to be involved in the clearing process of consignments at the ports, and it is represented by the Port Police during examination of containers. After the same container would be subjected to another harrowing orgy of extortion by the same Nigeria Police under a different façade called Maritime Police. This is double jeopardy on Nigerian citizens and a clear betrayal of the current federal government’s avowed economic crimes. The identified corrupt practice of the Maritime Police Unit has also occasioned avoidable galloping inflation in the Nigerian economy, thereby placing additional burden of high cost of living on the citizenry. Consequently, this corrupt practice has a negative impact and unduly increases the operational cost of Nigerian companies and hinders the Ease of Doing Business policy of the Federal Government.
As a concerned citizen who is committed to the growth of the Nigerian economy and the success of the policy initiatives of the government, I passionately appeal to His Excellency, and the Inspector General of to intervene in this matter with a view to stopping the ongoing the face of the government’s good intentions in formulating the Ease of Doing Business Policy and the ardent crusade against corruption and economic crimes, being prosecuted by the present government.
Charles G. Osuegwu, a legal practitioner, wrote from Lagos