A presidential task force set up by the federal government under the office of vice president Yemi Osinbajo has been riddled with corruption as the police which controls the task force’s operations is now being alleged to collect unreceipted N80,000 from each tanker daily before gaining access into the ports and tank farms
The Nigerian Shippers Council estimates that 5,000 trucks and tankers access the Lagos ports and their tank farm and jetty neighbours daily.
The unreceipted collections, according to business a. m. calculations amount to N400 million daily and N12 billion monthly.
A report by the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) feared that the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu all enforcement-led Presidential Task Team on Restoration of Law and Order in Apapa, Lagos State, may have become an avenue for illegal enrichment of members of the taskforce as the police now operate a private office in Yaba, Lagos for the collection of the unreceipted sum from the port haulage services providers.
The report said, “Apart from the illegal payment point derisively referred to as” “Odumosu Bank” by hapless road haulage operators, at the Second Rainbow, Mile Two, and Kirikiri sections of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, squads of the task team routinely demand and collect the sum of N80,000 per truck to issue what they claim are “approvals from our Abuja Office for the release of arrested trucks.
“Similarly, the task team’s operatives routinely demand and receive bribes of the sum of N80,000 in order to accord truckers with unqualified trucks “priority access” to the Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC) and the Lagos Port Complex (LPC).
“The task force operates a private office located in the Yaba area of Lagos where road haulage fleet operators routinely visit to lodge bribes ranging from N500,000 to N2,000,000 to procure un-receipted approvals that facilitate movements of their vehicles over certain agreed periods to and from the ports in Apapa.
“These extortionist tendencies, which the leaders of the task force have introduced into the team’s mission, have infested their subordinates who now regard the Lagos ports access roads as paved with gold for their pickings.
MARAN is sorely disappointed that, owing to the tendencies which gloss over the deep-seated rot perpetrated by the undesirable elements in uniforms, notably the police, the words encapsulated in the terms of reference of the Presidential Task Team on Restoration of Law and Order in Apapa have failed to be transformed into achievements.”
Remi Ogungbemi, the chairman of Association of Maritime Trucks Owners (AMATO), couldn’t agree less with the findings by MARAN when he confirmed that extortions of various kinds are still going on among the task team members.
He feared that no task force could eradicate the malignant traffic gridlock on the country’s port access roads until requisite infrastructure such as motorable roads, trailer parks and container holding bays are provided.
“The constant recourse to task forces, we believe, is an ad-hoc arrangement that keeps postponing the evil days but which provides an open sesame for such task force members to enrich themselves,” he said.