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FG intensifies effort to remove illegal checkpoints, shanties along ports corridors

By Adaku Onyenucheya
13 July 2022   |   3:11 am
The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has commenced the second phase of the Port Standing Task Team (PSST) ‘Operation Free the Port Corridors’ project to remove all illegal checkpoints, shanties and indiscriminate parks along the ports’ access roads to enhance the Federal Government’s ease of doing business mandate.

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has commenced the second phase of the Port Standing Task Team (PSST) ‘Operation Free the Port Corridors’ project to remove all illegal checkpoints, shanties and indiscriminate parks along the ports’ access roads to enhance the Federal Government’s ease of doing business mandate.

The exercise will cover Apapa /Tin-Can, Coconut/Berger Yard, Mile 2/ Orile and Ijora axis.

The Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, while flagging off the exercise in Lagos last Friday, said all corrupt practices, illegal checkpoints and shanties along the port corridors impeding business in the nation’s seaports would be eliminated by the Port Standing Task Team.

According to the Minister who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani and the Deputy Director, Adams Ofie, he said the project would ensure the lingering issue of gridlock and corruption along the port corridors become things of the past.

She commended members of the PSTT for the achievements made in the assignments given to them while noting that the ministry is aware of their challenges, which include, inadequate logistics and operational needs for more robust and effective implementation of the mandate.

According to her, the task team request is currently receiving attention in the ministry for possible intervention and immediate facilitation of logistics and operational needs for seamless implementation.

The Executive Secretary of NSC, Emmanuel Jime, said the second phase of the exercise will cover Apapa /Tin-Can, Coconut/Berger Yard, Mile 2/ Orile and Ijora axis.

He said the 15.6 kilometres stretch of roads is littered with shanties and trucks parked indiscriminately, thereby causing untold hardships to other commuters, creating avenues for extortion and other forms of corrupt practices by both states and non-state actors.

The NSC boss said the commencement of the second phase is a demonstration of the success that the Port Standing Task Team has achieved during the first phase even in the face of logistics and operational challenges.

He said the successes recorded were not without dire consequences including stern resistance, intimidation, a threat to lives and physical assault of the operatives, including the national Co-coordinator as well as the destruction of gadgets and vehicles.

In his remarks, the National Coordinator of the Task Team, Moses Fadipe, expressed appreciation to other security agencies for their commitment to the mandate of the PSTT, noting that without their support and professionalism, the operational successes recorded so far would have been impossible.

According to him, many industry players, observers and commentators have acknowledged that the bold step to rid the ports’ corridors of illegal checkpoints and other forms of corrupt practices has yielded tremendous success.

This, he said, is most evident in the sanity established in the movement of traffic in the outbound route of Apapa port gate to Ijora, which is a distance of about 2.6 kilometres, which was the focus of the Task Team during the first phase of operations.

“These widely acknowledged successes were achieved but not without challenges. The major challenges were those of inadequate logistics and manpower. There were also hazardous encounters where personnel of the task team was harassed, assaulted and even held hostage on one occasion. In all of these, we remained upbeat as we were able to brace the storm,” he said.

He appreciated the support of the ministry in pressing on the sister agencies to shoulder some of the financial and logistics responsibilities of the task team as he noted that the burden of funding the task team is solely on the NSC despite its paucity of income.

He stressed that the intervention of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), will be greatly appreciated in this regard, adding that the PSTT required more pick-up vans in the fleet to aid the operation more effectively.

Also speaking, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde assured that the state will continue to give its backing to ensure the gridlock that has made it difficult to access the ports will be eliminated.

He said the state government has commissioned the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Park to take over 2,500 trucks to reduce indiscriminate parking of trucks along the roads causing traffic.