ETO: Truckers petition ICPC over alleged N50b extortion by NPA, TTP
• We pay N73, 000 per truck for every trip to the port, truckers lament
Truckers under the aegis of the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA), have petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over alleged corrupt practices by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Truck Transit Park Limited (TTP) in defrauding maritime transport operators of over N50 billion.
The truckers, in a petition signed by the National Secretary, COMTUA, Erhabor Augustine, which was made available to The Guardian, urged the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, to intervene in the corrupt practices that both agencies have carried out against truckers since the introduction of the electronic call-up system (via the electronic application called Eto).
They lamented that despite the intent of the App, which should ordinarily aid the use and access to the ports without any human interface or forms of preference, truckers have experienced incessant cases of such human interface and preferences, which makes the continued use and/or operation of Eto an abuse.
The truckers said they are required to, irrespective of the location of their trucks, specifically pay for certain dues, including satellite and pre-gate garages, whether or not these services are used, usable or reasonable.
The truckers said they are currently charged between N70, 000 to N73, 000 per truck for every trip made to the port.
They said, notwithstanding the procurement of required and approved governmental documents for road worthiness of their truck, truckers are subjected to a second mandatory road worthiness documentation process with the NPA before the use and access to the ports at a fee of N10, 000 per truck.
They said trucks are unable to freely move both within and outside the precincts of the ports, except and until these documents, among other things, are procured from the NPA.
The truckers said the charges imposed for the use and access to the ports have been unilaterally altered repeatedly about five times by TTPL without any form of consultation or consideration for the interests of the users of the ports.
The truckers stated that despite writing to the NPA on several occasions on the issues, they are yet to receive a specific written response.
“The NPA and TTP also granted a special waiver to some companies and tagged them as military trucks. These trucks do the private business of returning empty containers to the port as vendors to shipping companies. They have designated lanes and all restrictions imposed on others do not affect them. These have created room for so many corrupt practices in the industry.
“While we Truckers were made to understand that the money we paid is shared between garage owners, whose facilities we use, the same sum is paid using virtual garages without the use of any garage facility. Even the supposed garages with facilities are not in use as claimed. Truckers are also charged extra by owners to verify trucks without getting there.
“Some local governments and LCDAs in the state, Apapa, Amuwo Odofin, also empowered thugs in the name of franchise to extort truckers. This is in contrast to the regulations against any additional payments beyond the wharf Landing fees,” the petition reads.
The truckers said these issues and many more beg for the intervention of the ICPC as many other relevant bodies like Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) and Convention on Business Integrity (CBI) are collaborating with the truckers to address some of these issues.