…Wants those behind ticket racketeering investigated, exposed
The Chairman, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Lillypond Export Chapter, Mr. Oluremi Abiodun Olabanji has appreciated the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies for acting on the piece of information that he provided to them recently through the media on corruption around the Eto Call Up system.
Olabanji who gave this appreciation in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos on Friday said but for the intervention of the NPA and the Police, the cartel around the racket was bent on stifling the importers and their agents through the outrageous and criminal selling of the Eto Call Up tickets to truck drivers operating at the Lagos ports.
He, however, maintained that despite the intervention by NPA and Police which appeared to minimize the trend of the Eto Call Up racketeering, it had continued unabated with the cloning of plate numbers by the cartel which they inscribe on the body of the truck after deleting that inscribed by the NPA officials and go ahead to sell the Call Up tickets to unsuspecting drivers for between one hundred and fifty thousand naira (N150,000) and two hundred thousand naira (N200,000).
According to him, “Of recent, we discovered that NPA is writing plate number on the bonnet of the truck. Well, it’s a good development but the people who see this irregularity as business don’t look at what NPA is writing because if NPA writes the place number on the body of the truck, once you go to the yard, they will clean it and write their own.
“These people go as far as getting plate numbers, more than fifty pieces, they have their collaborators. They use those plate numbers to go and get call up and when they are selling to you, you park the truck, clean the number inscribed by NPA and inscribe that particular plate number to access the port and they sell the call up for as much as N150,000 to N200,000.
“The transporters are not finding it easy because those people getting this money don’t have truck. They are after getting the plate numbers and start selling call up, they don’t know how much they are selling tyre, they don’t know how much it cost to maintain a truck, they are just a cartel. Once things are getting better, they work to frustrate it so that they can continue to benefit from the rot.”
He recalled that the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had worked very hard to see that all these irregularities are curtailed but to no avail. “Look at when we were taking containers for one million to two million, they want to take us back to that era which I am begging the government not to allow them to take over the system.
“Those people who went to get plate numbers and start inscribing it on vehicles, if they put the plate number and they put the stamp like this, you can’t get the motor, you won’t detect it but it is only NPA and TTP that staff can detect it. Some of the TTP staff are part of this cartel but it is difficult to get them. We are finding it too difficult to take trucks into the port. There was a change for few days but it has gone back to what it used to be. The cartel is working seriously to overpower the system.
“I thank God for the new committee (Lagos State Trucks and Cargo Operators Committee) set up by the Lagos State Government. I know that they will do it better. But the only way the government will make this thing to work is to fish out all those bad eggs behind this racket and take them out of the system. You can see that gridlock has returned to port access road, why? Because they will work overnight, they will pass the whole trucks at night and they will block the whole road during the daytime such that ordinary people who go about their businesses in the day won’t be able to move and there is nothing you can do because when you look at the documents with them, they are genuine.
“Lillypond closed because of these cartel and the government relinquished a whole terminal. Go there now, you will discover that they have transformed the terminal into taskforce zone for the call up system. We are not saying that they should not make their own money but they should give room for the system put in place by the government to work”, he said.
Noting that trucking of cargoes from the port had increased from N400,000 to N800,000 and to as much as N1.2million. the ANLCA Chairman said, “I have some consignments that are going to Ilasamaja here in Lagos, two to three months ago, I collected N200,000 as transport charge from the importer. The last delivery I made to his warehouse cost N350,000 and today, the cost is N450,000 for one by twenty feet containers to the same Ilasamaja.
“The initial amount that we agreed on was N200,000 with which I have been delivering to his warehouse but when this selling of call up ticket was introduced, it jumped to N350,000 and today, it is N450,000. This is my own experience and I am sure other agents are experiencing the same thing.”
Going further, Olabanji disclosed that this challenge was not limited to trucks exiting the port as trucks carrying export consignments were not left out. “When it takes export containers two to three weeks to get into the port and before it gets to the port, the booking has expired and contents spoiled. There are some goods that I exported in the past but on getting to the destination, they were rejected on the ground that the contract has expired. And since then, I was discouraged from export.
“So, I appeal to the National Assembly and the Presidency to look into this problem. We are the ones generating revenue for the government, thank God we inaugurated the new ANLCA National President yesterday (Thursday) and the Lagos State Government is inaugurating her transport committee today (yesterday), if these people can come together to make things work so that people can go in and out of the port in record times, that will be good “, he stated.
Photo: Mr. Olufemi Abiodun Olabanji, Chairman of ANLCA, Lillypond Export Chapter.
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