NPA Accuses Security Officials Of Sabotaging E-Call-Up System
The Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, has accused security officials of sabotaging the electronic call-up system for trucks plying the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos.
Koko accused the military men, policemen, and officials of NPA security department of interfering in the effective functioning of the electronic call-up system and eto application used by truck drivers in accessing the ports.
The NPA boss made the accusations in Lagos during a press conference.
He decried the mounting of several checkpoints in and around Apapa by security agencies with a view to extorting money from port-bound truck drivers.
He said NPA was concluding plans to improve on the call-up system by introducing the use of Quick Response (QR) codes by truck drivers to gain access into the ports.
A QR code, which is a type of barcode, is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. In practice, QR codes often contain data for a locator, identifier, or tracker that points to a website or application.
“One of the first executive actions I took when I was appointed was to visit the Tin Can-Apapa corridor to ensure that the right things are done and the right infrastructure is deployed. We are getting there gradually.
“We have put in measures to minimise the congestion in and around the Port. NPA was using manual manifest and call-up system which was not very effective because of human interference.
“We have brought in eto electronic call-up system to ensure smooth inward and outward movement of cargo from the port. The idea was to ensure that all trucks coming in are supposed to move from trailer parks to the Truck Transit Park (TTP) at Lilypond, Ijora, then to the port.
“TTP was supposed to have deployed some physical and electronic infrastructure but that was not done. When I was appointed, I gave them ultimatum to ensure that those items are installed as quickly as possible. I can assure you that there has been more deployment of assets by TTP.
“The idea of enforcement, whatever you come up with, there must be enforcement; so we liaised with the Lagos State Government to ensure that we have the right security operatives on ground.
“We have also collaborated with the Lagos State Government through Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA), which has brought a bit more sanity to the system.
“Because of our intense focus, there is already some improvement. There is better flow of traffickers, but let me finally say that the major hindrance to eto is the road. The Tin Can corridor is bad. We have had discussions with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure that the construction company deploys its equipment to start construction around that area,” he said.
He explained that rather than use the eto app, some truckers find a way to use military men.
“You find out that at night, military men escort vehicles (into the port), which is sabotage,” he said.
Koko also said that street urchins and touts, commonly known as ‘Area boys’, take advantage of the chaotic traffic situation on the Lagos port access roads to extort money from truck drivers.
“They (area boys) are involved in extortion and find ways to divert these trucks. We discovered a building not far away from Apapa gate where one can get a number plate printed in less than 20 minutes.
“There are also saboteurs even among our staff, well, we had to issue queries to NPA staff involved and we are taking actions. We have sent some home to allow for proper investigation. Others have been queried and some have been moved across ports.
“We have made it clear that we shall not tolerate saboteurs in the system, no matter where they are coming from”, the NPA boss said.
Lekki Port Invests $100m In Equipment
The promoters of Lekki Port and Lekki Freeport Terminal have said the Port has invested over $100 million in equipment, and would begin transshipment of cargoes in the coming weeks
They said the move would see Nigeria recover lost cargoes from neighbouring West African countries.
The Chief Commercial Officer, Lekki Freeport Terminal, Kehinde Olubi-Neye, who disclosed this during a chat with newsmen in Lagos, assured that the port has the technical capacity, draft and state-of-the-art equipment to recover transship cargoes bound for landlocked countries.
“The opportunity is to explore transshipment of cargoes to other regional countries in Africa.
“We are in the process of transshipment with the support of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) when the first transhipment vessel arrives in the coming weeks.
“The Lekki Freeport Terminal has discussed with stakeholders, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and they are confident that recovering transshipment cargoes not just for the hinterland but also for landlocked countries and other regional countries will be back in the country.
“We are here to connect global maritime trade into Nigeria, and that is why we have the deepest draft here. We do not have this draft anywhere else in Lagos and arguably, in some of the West African countries as well,
“We are not here to compete with other ports but to render services to the Nigerian people. The volume of cargoes coming into the port is low at the moment, but vessels are already using the ports”, he said.
Olubi-Neye said the port has also seen the opportunity to play a role in the uptake of cargo in the eastern port, saying that is why they are currently having discussions on moving containers discharged at Lekki Port by barge to Calabar, Warri, and Onitsha River Port, among others, to help increase the economy of those ports.
The Commercial Officer said the port is exploring the possibility of moving cargo by barges, and has been able to execute more than five barge moves of over 900 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers (TEUs) from Lekki Port to the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
Earlier, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, described Lekki Port as a Nigerian project and assured that the NPA would do everything within its powers to grant necessary approvals and provide marine services to the port.
Represented by the Manager, Public Affairs of NPA, Ikechukwu Magarian, Bello said the Lekki Port would shape the maritime economy of the country and called on Nigerians to embrace and promote the port.
MWUN’s Chair Lauds President-General’s Leadership Qualities
The Chairman, Maritime Barge Operators Unit of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Mr Olawale Cole, has commended the President General of the Union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, for his leadership quality.
He said Adeyanju’s role in MWUN has led to the transformation of the union under his leadership.
Cole, who stated this during an interview with newsmen, described Adeyanju as a transformer who has proven that he has what it takes to take the union to a far greater height.
The Maritime Barge Chairman also congratulated the MWUN President on his emergence as the Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
According to him, being a versatile labour man, Adeyanju will use his new position to further enhance the working relationship between stakeholders and workers in the maritime sector.
He thanked the union’s President General for his generosity, particularly as it affects members of MWUN.
Customs Impounds Military Uniforms From Smugglers
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone B Kaduna State, says it has intercepted a sack of military uniforms and others from smugglers with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N628 million in one month.
The zone’s Area Controller, Musa Jalo, who disclosed this to newsmen shortly after the seizure, said the military wears which were intercepted between March and April 2023, were enroute to Nigeria from the Niger Republic.
He said during the period, the zone made 188 seizures of 17 different contrabands at different locations in the zone.
“Our operatives, while on a stop and search operation, intercepted one Volkswagen Golf driven by a Nigerian citizen along Jibia-Katsina Road.
“During the operation, the officers observed and identified a sack in the vehicle that was later opened, and assorted military camouflage shirts, trousers, and t-shirts were found”, he said.
Jalo added that after further examination and interrogation, the driver was identified to be a Nigerien and was delivering the uniforms to an unknown person in Katsina State.
“The uniforms were counted to be 22 pairs of foreign tactical military camouflage shirts and trousers and another 25 pieces of military camouflage t-shirts”, he added.
According to Jalo, the seized military uniforms have been handed over to the Directorate of Security Services for further investigation and possible prosecution.
“Also, based on credible intelligence, operatives of the unit intercepted one used Mitsubishi Canter with number plate AKR 10 XG conveying sacks of Cannabis Sativa, otherwise known as marijuana, concealed with bags of cassava flakes and sawdust along Bungudu-Tsafe Road in Zamfara State.
“After physical examination, the vehicle was found to contain 46 sacks of Marijuana, with a street value of N2.1 million”, he said.
Jalo said the operatives also intercepted a white narcotic substance together with two male suspects and one locally made pistol at the Maigatari axis of Jigawa State.
He said on further tests of the substance by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Kaduna State Command, the illegal substance was discovered to be Opium with a total weight of 422 grams.
“The street value of the Opium substance is N31 million. The 422 grams of Opium substance together with the suspects and one locally-made pistol were handed over to the Kaduna State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency”, he said.
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