Truck Owners operating at the Lagos Ports -Apapa and Tin Can Island – can now heave a sign of relief as the Lagos state government setup a mobile court to to prosecute persons perpetuating extortion on Port access road.
The mobile court, it was gathered, was set-up for speedy dispensation of justice and to fast track the prosecution of persons arrested perpetrating acts of extortion, unauthorized collections, illegal checkpoints or any other unwholesome practice inhibiting the ease of doing business around the ports.
Also, the assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Zone 2 Command, Bode Adeyinka Adeleke, and his counterpart in the Maritime Police Command, Ibrahim Kaoje, have directed immediate dismantling of illegal checkpoints on the port access road
This directive is coming against the backdrop of the implementation of action points in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Lagos State Government (LASG) on truck traffic control and enforcement in Apapa and environs signed on 8th March, 2022.
The NPA management, however, enlisted the support of the police high command in curbing the activities of extortionists and other forms of illegalities along the roads leading to Apapa and TinCan Island Port Complex.
Also, the managing director, NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, while receiving Adeyinka and Kaoje, lamented the proliferation of illegal checkpoints along the ports corridor.
But, he enjoined the two AIGs to join the NPA management on a spot check of the port access road to ascertain the reality on ground.
After the assessment, which was conducted over the weekend, with NPA management and the two Police AIGs, Lagos state police commissioner, Abiodun Talabi, the AIGs promptly issued directive to dismantle all checkpoints with a marching order to the Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPO), to ensure sustainability of orderliness as they will be held accountable for breaches going forward.
It will be recalled that previous efforts at curbing the acts of extortion being aided and abetted by uniformed men and other officials of government had been hampered by issues of jurisdictional overlaps between the Ports Authority Police Command (PAPC) and the Lagos State Police Command.
But, with the current partnership between the NPA and the two Police Commands whose jurisdiction covers the Lagos maritime logistics ring, it is expected that extortion will be a thing of the past.