By Kenneth Jukpor
Freight agents have expressed displeasure over the laxity of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) security officials as truck drivers abandon trucks at the entrance of the Tin Can Island Container Terminal, Lagos.
The agents under the aegis of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) fingered the NPA security officials nonchalance as one of the reasons for the persistent traffic congestion at Tin Can Island Port.
The Chairman of Tin Can Island Chapter of ANLCA, Prince Segun Oduntan led the team of agents and journalists into the Tin Can Island ports where these findings were made on Monday, this week.
Addressing the NPA Head, Port Security, Mr. Akindele Olajide, the ANLCA Chairman said, “This is wrong. The port entrance can’t become an area to park trucks. You might need to engage the Terminal Manager on this and probably take more stringent measures such as towing these trucks”
In his response, Olajide said; “We are also not happy because TICT keeps taking photographs of these trucks and uploading them on our platform which is embarrassing. We can’t tow these trucks because we don’t know the content. We have to be very cautious in taking that decision. It is unfortunate that truck drivers are mostly dropouts without ethics”
“The Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU) alert has also been one of the major problems” he added.
However, he commended the ANLCA committee for doing a great job to ensure order at the Tin Can Port.
Apparently perplexed by the presence of newsmen, the NPA Head of Port Security declined speaking with MMS Plus newspaper.
During the field inspection, the team discovered the trucks abandoned at the port entrance, while three other trucks were also jettisoned at the TICT gate leaving just one lane for entry and exit.
The truck drivers weren’t found in the trucks blocking the TICT gate while two assistants (motor-boys) told the team that they had been stuck for over two weeks following their inability to settle the Customs Intelligence Unit (CIU) of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) Tin Can Command.
When contacted the Tin Can Customs Command Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mr. Uche Ejesieme absorbed the CIU of any wrongdoing.
“Anything that borders on control at the gate of the ports or terminals is under the purview of NPA and the Police. CIU has no business with gate and traffic control”, he said.
Speaking with MMS Plus, the team leader, Prince Segun Oduntan asserted that the NPA security officials collect bribe from the trucks in order to allow them park at the port entrance as such number of trucks couldn’t have been allowed at the port gate without consent of NPA security officers.
Noting that the exit lanes at the port gave have been narrowed to a single lane, Oduntan positer that trucks abandoned at the gate have exited customs and should be going to the warehouse, but they were abandoned at the gate for two weeks.
“NPA cannot tell me that they did not know when these trucks were parking there, there is a collusion somewhere, and I can tell you that from our investigation, we know that these drivers and truck owners were relating with NPA security and the police” he said.
“The containers we saw there are on transfer, this is why we have said the customs and the terminal operator should look at the container numbers and tell us what is wrong, we don’t have the container details”, he added.
Oduntan on December 19th 2019 inaugurated the Ad Hoc Committee to sanitize the Tin Can port area.
The committee has since held various meetings with relevant stakeholders including terminal operators, shipping companies, Customs, among others.