Even as the Nigerian Navy last week announced that it has punished some of its officers whom were indicted for taking bribe from truck drivers before accessing the port, the Flag Officer Commanding of the Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji has called on other security agencies whose officials were also fingered in the allegations, to take a cue from the Navy.
The Naval stated this last week when he hosted visiting officials of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) at the base in Apapa, Lagos.
According to him, the Navy is a disciplined outfit that would not condone any act of illegality.
Recall that the Naval high command had recently launched an investigation into some of its officers whom were found culpable in the bribe taking scandal and some of them were found to have enriched themselves from extorting truck drivers.
The officers were part of the security agencies drafted to Apapa to ease the perennial traffic at the port.
It was however discovered that the security agencies demand as high as N150,000 from every truck before allowing them to enter the port to pick cargoes.
President Muhammadu Buhari had subsequently ordered the Naval officials and others including Nigerian Police, Civil Defence Corp out of the traffic control.
Speaking, the Naval Boas said “Like they say, in every twelve there is always a Judas, the conditions were ripe, and the bad eggs took advantage of it, however, we did not just stop there, we dismissed those that found in the act, those that were on suspicion were punished, some were reduced in ranks just as a way of disciplining them to show that the Nigerian Navy has zero tolerance for such indiscipline”
“We urge other agencies to do the same because the allegations were not only limited to the Nigerian Navy, other agencies were involved and I believe they should do the same because if there is no deterrent, the culture of impunity will continue”
“I want to assure you that the Western Naval Command is disciplined, and anyone that is found wanting would be disciplined because we do not condone such behaviors”
On the issue of traffic management, Daji lamented that as an operational commander, it is a night made for him to have deployed one-third of his personnel to a task that ordinarily in some climates it shouldn’t be doing.
He said “The headquarters have directed that we cannot standby being idle and leave heavy weights on the bridges, because in the long run, if the bridges collapse, we would not even have vehicular access into the base and the cost of reconstruction would be higher”
“Closely related to that is the issue of the port concessionaires, the information we have is that the NPA is supposed to be the regulatory body on behalf of the federal government to enforce regulations”
“Since the government has said the shipping companies are supposed to have holding bays, I don’t know why it is proving difficult for these people to be sanctioned if they are not following the laws”
“Another issue is that the concessionaires have used up all the spaces within their empire.There should be stronger regulatory and enforcement procedures to ensure the concessionaires comply”
“At the end of the day, even if you male all the money, you would end up spending it on what your actions or inactions have produced” he said