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How NPA is tackling corruption on port access road- Bello-koko 


Abiola Seun

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), is taking stringent measures to tackle unwholesome tendencies in maritime business to entrench confidence in the system.

Speaking with journalists in Lagos yesterday, the Acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko said one of the measures was a general
redeployment of security officials that had stayed for a long time on their beats.

He said, “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.

“We have had cases where we tried to establish proof of the people that were said to have been extorted because you need to have proof, but there is none.

“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.

Bello-Koko also spoke on the agonising Apapa gridlock and declared that the
deployment of infrastructure under the Electronic Call-Up system for trucks had eliminated it by more than 80 per cent.

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