Clearing agents have complained bitterly of being subjected to extortion and intimidation by officers of the Area B Command of the Nigeria Police Force.
One of the aggrieved agents, Chief Geoffry Lush, complained to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY of how freight forwarding agents find themselves at the mercy of officers of the command who he said disguise themselves in mufti and waylay agents going about their duties.
“Daily, they lay ambush everywhere in Apapa, mostly on Mobil Warehouse road and Kofo Abayomi Street. When going to the office of shipping companies, they will stop you and start asking for documents, documents they know nothing about. And if you, the agent, ask them to identify thselves, since they are on mufti, they start slapping you.
“On June 10th 2014 at Mobil point road, they collected N10,000 from one of our guys who was on his way to pay a trailer driver at Tincan. This is broad daylight robbery of freight forwarders,” Lush lamented.
He said that the Government Reserved Area (GRA) Apapa, where the Area B Police Command is located, is part of the port environs therefore agents as port stakeholders should be treated with respect.
When contacted by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY yesterday for his reaction to the allegations, the Area B Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Michael Anene, said that the allegations were baseless since the complaints were not deemed serious to be reported to the authority of the police command.
He said: “It is not enough to damage the reputation of the police with unfounded allegations. Whoever goes to equity must go with clean hands. If a person has any complaints, the complaints should be thoroughly reported where it should. I would want to know the name of the policeman that extorted from who and the person who claims to have being extorted so that he will able to challenge the policeman if he denies.”
The police boss said his command has been faced with dealing with cases where some agents are reported to be engaged in dubious deals hence his officers are on the alert for such suspicious agents.
“Anybody that is stopped to be checked should submit himself to check. The only thing is that when you are checked if there is nothing and they are still asking you for something, you can report that person but for somebody to say because he is a clearing agent he should not be stopped and checked is not going to work,” Anene said.
He said that his officers would not relent in carrying out their duties in the face of the security precariousness of the country.
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