The Public Affairs Officer of the Wharf Landing Fees Authority in Apapa Lagos, Mr Oputeh Michael has said that freight forwarders and licensed customs agents, as well as vehicle drivers should feel free to contest the penalties meted out on them by the authority through the court of law.
Licensed Customs Agents yesterday raised an alarm that a task force recently formed by the landing Fee authority were harassing them, that they impounded 15 assorted vehicles for unknown reasoreasons.
But in a swift reaction in a chat with DAILY TREND NEWS, Mr Oputeh accused the drivers of the Tokunbo vehicles of always trying to avoid payment of the fees to its officials.
He said that most times, they prefer to carry a military man in front of the vehicles in order to avoid payment.
According to him, revenue that should have accrued to the Lagos State Government was filtering away, and this necessitated the establishment of the task force.
He confirmed that a fine of N100,000 for individuals, and N500,000 for corporate was slammed on violators of the Wharf landing fee payment.
Oputeh charged anyone that is not happy with the penalty which is stated in the Wharf Landing Fee law of Lagos State should feel free to go to court and challenge it.
He said “The Landing Fee is not an illegal fee, it is a law signed by Lagos State House of Assembly in 2001, 2002 when the approval was given to Apapa Local Government by the Joint Task Force and the Federal Ministry of Finance”
“Most drivers of the imported cars, when they are coming, they are supposed to pay N300, but they wouldn’t want to pay. Last week, we had to set up a task force to check all these practices because what we are supposed to generate for the state is not coming in”
“What the law says is that, if you fail to pay that fee of N300 for cars, N500 for Sienna cars and N1,000 for trucks, the penalty is N100,000 for individual and N500,000 for Corporate, it is in the law”
“We have different points that we collect, the drivers already know these points, so when they see our boys, they turn back. We have a point at Tin Can, Liverpool, Wharf Road, and you know that we only have two roads out of Apapa, Liverpool through Tin Can, and Wharf road to Ijora”
“Most times, some of the drivers would even use soldiers and police to avoid payments. Instead of them to pay N500 for Sienna, they would use an army official to drive the car and escape. Since we are not generating what we ought to for the state government, we had to bring the Task Force to impound their vehicles”
“The trucks are complying, its only the Tokunbo cars that dont want to comply. If they don’t want to comply, they should go to the court and contest it. Our revenue collectors are not thugs, they are Lagos State government officials”