The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said it has redeployed some of its personnel at the Tin Can Island Port and Apapa ports suspected to be aiding corruption and for having overstayed in their designated duty posts.
The Acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko, who stated this while speaking to newsmen, said he has also requested for the transfer of policemen and other security officials that have served in Apapa for a long time and have been involved in managing traffic on the port access roads.
He said this was part of measures the NPA management took recently in tackling corruption at the ports.
“What we have discovered is that there are security officials that have been working within the area we call the red zone, which is the Tin Can, Apapa area, for four, five or six years, and they are still there.
“We have requested that they should be posted out of that location and a new set of people that will actually and truly work for Nigeria taken there. We have had cases where we tried to establish proof of the people that were said to have been extorted because you need to have proof, but there is none,” he said.
According to Bello-Koko, NPA is working with various security and traffic control agencies to streamline the number of checkpoints on the port access roads.
“What we have now done is to look at how many checkpoints should be on the roads. If we identify six checkpoints, for instance, it means that when you wake the next day and you find 16 checkpoints, that means there are 10 illegal checkpoints,” he explained.
He said other resolutions at the meeting, which involved the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Police and Army, included that the security agencies should have the names of their operatives posted to the checkpoints.
He said with this, there would be proof of extortions, especially the date, exact location and the officers involved.
The NPA boss disclosed that although the security operatives have devised other means of extortion, as they presently use area boys called ‘ECOMOG boys’, to do the collection for them.
“A few weeks ago, it was even more like a battle for control on who extorts at which location. They stand by the side and extort, while others are by the side waiting to receive their share.
“I know that the Police also took action to reduce the vices, but sometimes you have errant officers that are off duty and they show up in uniforms with guns and perpetrate destruction.
“At the NPA, we have dealt with security men indicted over unwholesome tendencies. We are doing a lot and shall soon rid the ports of such vices,” he said.