Ships Traffic at the Port and Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML), Apapa, Lagos is at a very low ebb as a visit by our correspondent reveals that customs officers at the port have for some time now been expressing worry over the issue.
The worry we gathered is necessitated by the failure of the new customs helmsman at the Command to compromise fraudulent business act with some top importers and their agents.
It was also learnt that fraudulent importers for fear of being apprehended or subjected to rigorous checks by men and officers of the new generation customs, have chosen to dump PTML for other ports in Nigeria and Cotonou where they can easily have their way.
Officers of the PTML command interviewed on the dwindling fortune of the customs area, told our correspondent in an exclusive chat, that only few genuine importers and reputed businessmen are still transacting business through PTML Port.
They added that PTML customs personnel are at alert and do not compromise dirty business like some other commands where fraudulent importers have moved their base to, adding “go out yourself and investigate, you will find out that importers and their agents like where they can easily defraud the federal government for selfish interests’ and where business is easily carried out with ease.
They further explained that the management team under the leadership of comptroller Aremu T.O was better motivated to work than ever.
“ Importer or agents trying to attempt illegal business will have themselves to blame with the new zeal; and vigour with which we are working”.
A recent visit by The Tide to PTML can revealed that customs officers, ports police and other security agencies were attending to the little quantity of containers and vehicles that the few vessels that discharged in the various berths.
Speaking to our correspondent on the development, some officers and licenced customs agents, who asked for anonymity, said the situation is saddening.
“We want the CAC to see into this problem. We want to work”, they said in sadness.
Meanwhile, available records provided by the Nigeria Ports Authority confirmed that in February 2012, the Port and Terminal Multipurpose Limited handled a total of 3, 300 units of used vehicles at the Tincan Island Port.
The records also revealed that, Grande Congo, Rep di, Roma, Grande Nigeria and Grande Morooco, all arrived in PTML in February with used vehicles, while MV Spagna arrived at the Terminal last month with 300 units of used vehicle.
It would be recalled that the Nigerians Organised Private Sector (OPS) had always alleged that Benin Republic ports were used as transit points for goods that are banned in the country such as furniture, textiles and second hand shoes and bags imported from Asian and European countries which eventually find their way into the country through the border posts.
Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
NPA Frowns Against Extortion Of Truck Drivers
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has threatened to sanction any staff that indulges in extortion of money from truck drivers at Apapa Port.
The Acting Managing Director, NPA, Muhammed Bello-Koko, disclosed this shortly after a meeting with Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State.
Koko expressed optimism that the agency’s collaboration with the state government would bring an end to the perennial gridlock within and around the Apapa area.
The NPA boss emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement of traffic laws along the roads leading to Apapa and Tin Can ports, which are the two busiest ports in the country.
He said NPA had been inundated with complaints of extortion from truckers, especially by security operatives, demanding money from drivers before accessing the ports.
He described the practice as a major disincentive to the smooth implementation of the truck call-up system.
“One of the complaints of the truckers has to do with extortion by security operatives, the Army, the Police, the Nigerian Navy and even NPA security staff.
“This is one of the areas we require the intervention of government, because we have police officers deployed from the State Command who are allegedly involved in this. We at the NPA have resolved to take the right punitive measures against any of our staff involved in this.
“We have moved some of them out of port locations, and we will do further reviews. Whoever is found involved would be appropriately sanctioned”, he said.
The NPA boss acknowledged that the Lagos State Government had been a close partner in terms of enforcement, but asked for more intervention to end the menace.
“NPA has reached out to the Federal Ministry of Works, we have been speaking with the Director of Works in the State, and we have asked that they should provide some palliatives around Sunrise Bus-stop.
“We were made to understand that the contract for that section of the road has just been awarded, but because of the rains, work has been delayed”, he added.
MWUN Tasks NIMASA, NIWA On Boat Drivers’ Training
The Maritime and Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to train and retrain boat drivers in the country to reduce incessant accidents on our waterways.
MWUN said training and retraining of boat drivers would enhance their capability and efficiency in the industry and save lives.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers State Chapter, Comrade Jonah Jumbo disclosed this during a telephone interview with The Tide.
Comrade Jumbo also advised NIMASA and NIWA to sanction any boat driver involved in over-speeding, overloading and reckless driving to reduce boat mishaps.
The chairman who regretted that most boat drivers lacked the skills and technical know-how to navigate the waters, said their human errors often caused accidents.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that regular training for boat drivers would enrich their skills and enable them to read the tide while on transit.
He frowned at the increasing rate of boat mishaps on the nation’s waterways and urged all stakeholders to check the trend.
The MWUN boss called on the Nigerian Navy and the Marine Police to arrest and prosecute any driver indulging in alcohol and overloading of passengers while on transit, adding that the act caused over seventy percent of water accident.
He appealed to drivers to desist from acts capable of causing accident, noting that many families have lost their loved ones through reckless driving and unholy acts caused by human errors on the waterways.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Sokoto To Boost Water Transport With Motorised Boats
The Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, says his administration will boost water transportation with motorised boats.
He also said his government would make life jackets available to all travellers and other water users to reduce boat mishap.
The governor stated this while commiserating with the people of Shagari Local Government Area that recently lost their loved ones in a boat mishap in the state.
He regretted that the state had lost many lives to boat accidents and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and their families the fortitude to bear their loss.
Also speaking, Chairman, Shagari Local Government Council, Aliyu Dantine Shagari, said eight of the victims were married women while five were children and elderly men.
He attributed the cause of the boat mishap to overloading.
“But there are other causes of boat mishap including strong wind. We are still investigating the matter to know what actually led to the accident”, he said.
The chairman advised boat drivers to desist from overloading and over speeding, noting that the community lost over six people in a similar accident last year.
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