By Oko Ebuka
Despite the efforts to stabilize the swift movements of trucks in and out of wharf in order to improve the ease of doing business in the maritime sector the situation is still getting worse as the securities of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, have been accused of collecting bribe and promoting favoritism against the ethics of call-up system.
In an exclusive chat with Vanguard Maritime Report, a stakeholder of Association of Maritime Truck Owners, AMATO, Goddy England, disclosed that NPA security personnel don’t welcome the idea of call-up number system as it prevents them from collecting bribes from truck owners.
According to Goddy, “NPA security department don’t welcome call-up number as they are collecting bribe up to N5, 000 from creek road to the gate.
“Some people pay their way to go without call-up. They don’t check their manifest because of the bribe given to them. Once they give them some huge amount of money for the truck to go, the following day the truck will get delivery. You will see some people indulging in forgery and still make their way to the port at the end of the day.
“But we that follow the normal procedures will be there for three to four weeks so we are losing. My drivers are complaining because they will be on the road before getting to Apapa. Now they are in Lilypond since two weeks as it has not come to their turn because it has not being stamped and signed but some people will go in today and get it today. The thing supposed to be normal process, first come first serve.
“With the huge amount of money we are spending now, N50, 000,- N60,000 for container, at the end of the day the truck will still be three weeks waiting for stamping. They have points, if you get to this point you pay, before you get to Apapa you will spend up to N30, 000.
“If really they are working, all the trucks will enter Lilypond and from there pick off”, he added.
In addition to this, one of the truck drivers, Geoffrey Nwosu also told Vanguard Maritime Report that it takes up to 2-3 weeks before getting their trucks cleared from Lilypond due to delay in the call-up number.
“There is always a delay in call-up number and it takes us 2-3 weeks before gaining access in Lilypond”, Nwosu complained.
On the issue of sticker, Goddy England lamented on the N11, 000 fee charges for minimum standard sticker by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, which adds no value to their truck business as they are always harassed by NPA security agencies.
In his words, “we pay N11, 000 for sticker for over two years now. What is the safety of the sticker? They claimed it is for minimum standard but we can’t see anything standard about it as we keep on suffering from the harsh conditions within and outside the port.
“You can calculate the number of trucks with this sticker and see the huge amount of money they are collecting from us you will be surprised”, he concluded.