NPA seeks transfer of long serving security officials out of Apapa 

Bello-Koko appoints new Port Managers for Tin Can, Onne and Calabar ports 

 

The Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello Koko said he has requested for the transfer of policemen and other security officials that have served in Apapa for “a long time” and have been involved in managing traffic on the port access roads. 

He said this request was part of measures aimed at tackling corruption in the traffic management system in and around the nation’s seaports. 

“What we have discovered is that there are security officials that have been working within the area we call the red zone, which is the Tin Can, Apapa area, for four, five or six years, and they are still there. We have requested that they should be posted out of that location and a new set of people that will actually and truly work for Nigeria taken there,” Koko said, while speaking with newsmen in Lagos on Sunday.

He also said that NPA was working with the leadership of the various security and traffic control agencies to streamline the number of checkpoints on the port roads. 

He said, “So, what we have now done is to look at how many checkpoints should be on the roads. We held a meeting with all the security agencies about three weeks ago and agreed to set up a team and identify how many checkpoints we should have along that corridor.

“If we identified six checkpoints, for instance, it means that when you wake the next day and you find 16 checkpoints, that means there are 10 illegal checkpoints.

“It was also agreed that it is only right that any of the security formations, be it LASTMA, Police, Army or NPA, that is posting security operatives to the checkpoints, should have the names of officers posted to each checkpoint.

“We believe that if we do that, and there is proof of extortion on a certain date, at a certain location, then we should be able to know the officers involved in it.

“But the interesting fact in all of this is that things have evolved now. You now have area boys they call ‘ECOMOG boys’, who do the collection for them.

“A few weeks ago, it was even more like a battle on who extorts at which location. They stand by the side and extort while others are by the side waiting to receive their share.

“Let me also state this clearly that we have had the cooperation of the Navy, Army, Police and everyone that is involved in this; they have made efforts to tackle every unwholesome tendency. Many actions were taken by the Navy and I thank them for that.

“I know that the police also took action to reduce the vices, but sometimes you have errand officers that are off duty and they show up in uniforms with guns and perpetrate destructions.

“At the NPA, we have dealt with security men indicted over unwholesome tendencies. We are doing a lot and shall soon rid the ports of such vices.”

He said while ports exist outside Lagos, importers prefer shipping their goods through Apapa and Tin Can Island ports – both in Lagos – due to the proximity of the two ports to their operational base. 

“We understand that about 70 per cent of the cargoes coming into Nigeria come in through Lagos. There is a high concentration of industries in Lagos and Ogun.

“It is only most likely that any importer of any raw material that is going to those factories in Lagos or Ogun will actually bring them in through the Lagos ports.

“But what we have done is to offer tariff incentives in those port locations so that it will encourage shipping lines and importers to patronise them.

“It has started working and we have seen a gradual increase in the tonnage and we are hoping there will be a jump but we are not seeing that jump yet,” the NPA boss added.



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