By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Port Manager, Lagos Ports Complex of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mrs Funmilayo Bola Olotu has charged the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) to be resilient and unwavering in the task of ridding the Apapa port access road of corruption and extortion.
Speaking during the “Operation Free the Port Corridor” recently flagged off by PSTT in Lagos recently, Mrs Olotu lamented that previous committees set up by the Federal and State government have turned the port into a cash cow.
The revealed a popular Slogan “Apapa Pass Yahoo” normally being used among the extortionist committees and their members,in the manner of internet fraudsters, popularly known as yahoo boys.
She however expressed high hopes in the PSTT headed by Comrade Moses Fadipe, to distinguish itself and not join the bandwagon.
Speaking on bribery at the ports, she said “It takes two to tango, if there is no giver, there would be no taker, when the ETO first started, for two weeks, everybody were compliant, nobody was chasing anybody, no human intervention, the rules were there, and it was simply digitalisation.
“However, the moment you have individuals in charge, they would tell you that ‘Apapa Pass Yahoo’, even if you bring an angel, at the end of the day, people with character and integrity are eventually messed up”
The NPA Port Manager pointed out that between the Lagos port and Orile, there is a totally collapsed portion of the road network which much be quickly fixed.
According to her, camp boys and others hoodlums along the road are taking advantage of this to extort truckers, and they are all fronting for one agency or the other.
Lamenting multiple checkpoints by the Nigeria Customs Service, Mrs Olotu noted that “Inside the port terminals, containers are checked, outside the gate, the same container is checked, moving to Leventis bus stop, the same container is checked, customs should try and expose the officer inside the terminal who is supposed to have done the right thing but allowed the container to leave the port.
“Even within the ports now, outside the terminals at our 1.6kilometre Road, we have the customs checkpoint”
She equally said that there is multiplicity of police commands at the port, adding that there are about three police Commands administering the port area alone.
According to her, there is equally an interAgency superiority which hinders sharing of information among various government parastatals at the port.
She said that the Tin Can Port Corridor calls for a national concerns because the boys operating on the road enjoy backups from powerful operators.