Syndicates extort N40m daily at Lagos ports corridor,  Truckers lament


By Abiodun OBA

Syndicates have been alleged to be extorting whooping sum of about N45 million illegal taxes daily from operators of trucks logistics within the Lagos seaport corridors.

An official of the Council for Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA) who declined to be named said the syndicates collecting the monies represent both state and non-state actors.

The official lamented that the total average spending per truck per day amounts to about N38,500 while their members move over 1000 trucks through the ports every day.

Giving a breakdown of the monies extorted from them he said that a fee of N3,000 is paid at the Tin-Can First Gate roundabout while N2,000 known as waybill fee is collected by people alleged to be working for the Apapa Local Government Area, a claim the Council has denied.

He also said that another N5,000 is collected by some operatives of the Nigeria Customs Service inside the port while another N1,000 is given to other set of Customs personnel at the Customs exit gate.

He also alleged that the Police at the Port have two collection points where the sum of N2,000 and N1,000 are paid by drivers.

Other payments, according to him, include N500 known as warehouse fee, and a N2,000 fee collected as Cutting of Seal fee, while another N4,000 is allegedly paid to some operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

Other payments allegedly made by truck drivers are N4,000 collected by another set of unnamed local council, while N1,000 is paid for ‘small paper’ collected by agents of unnamed Lagos political bigwig.

There is also a confirmation and gate pass of N3,000 and N2,000 respectively, and a security fee of N1,000 that are paid in the port.

Drivers are also made to part with another N2,000 as scaling fee, N1,000 as security fee and N4,000 as dropping of container fee,

Some of the truck owners said they have done everything possible to bring this anomaly to the attention of government and nothing has been done to stop it.

Speaking on the development, Mr. Richard Odoka, a truck owner, said that trucks carrying export cargoes are the most affected in the extortion spree.

According to Udoka, about 1,000 trucks of various categories enter the Tin-Can Island Port, the Port and Cargo Terminal ‘C’, Joseph Dam Terminal and Five Logistics Terminal.

Similarly, Mr. Yinka Aroyewun, President of the COMTUA said that the level of extortion is alarming and condemnable.

According to him, “There are 20 extortion points between Tin-Can first gate and the point at which you off-load your empty containers or drop your export cargoes. From N1,000 to N2,000 to N3,000 to N5,000 are collected by agencies of government.”

However, reacting to the allegation, Chief of Staff to the Executive Chairman of Apapa Local Government Area, Mr. Dele Afose, said the Council did not send anybody to collect money on its behalf.

Afose said: “I am not aware of this development. In fact, I am shocked that people are collecting money on behalf of the Local Government. The Local Government did not post anybody anywhere”.

© 2023, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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