The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has expressed concern over a rising trend of extortion occurring along the access roads leading to the Lagos and Tin Can Island Port Complexes.
The NPA recently conducted clearance operations from 16th to 18th July to remove shanties and illegal structures that shelter criminal elements responsible for these acts of extortion.
During these clearance operations, the Managing Director NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko, voiced his distress about the negative impact of extortion and other illegal activities on trade facilitation, which is a core function of the NPA.
He emphasized that such behavior undermines the significance of the ports as gateways to the national economy.
Bello Koko further highlighted that the NPA has previously taken punitive measures against staff found complicit in such unethical practices.
He reiterated the organization’s commitment to enforce strict sanctions on any employee involved in acts of sabotage, in line with public service rules and their zero-tolerance policy for such misconduct.
The NPA sought support from law enforcement agencies, including the Lagos State Police Command, to address the extortion issue effectively.
However, the jurisdictional restrictions of the Port Authority Police Command (PAPC) limited their scope to the port premises.
Hence, Bello Koko emphasized the need for enhanced collaboration and synergy between PAPC and officers from other agencies, such as the Nigerian Army, the Navy, the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to collectively combat the menace of extortion.
Despite the successful completion of perimeter fencing at the Tin Can Island Port to restrict unauthorized access, the extortion problem persists along the port access road, which falls outside the NPA’s authority.
Earlier in March 2023, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) published a video showing the assaults and extortion carried out by these criminals on trucks entering and leaving the port corridor.
The NPA has conducted fact-finding efforts and identified various flashpoints of extortion, with amounts ranging from 500 Naira to as high as 5,000 Naira.
To address this growing issue, the NPA urges cooperation among sister government agencies operating along the port corridor to collectively and sustainably combat this menace, which hampers ease of doing business in and around the ports.