Posted by Maritime Newsroom
The excesses of a group of security operatives identified as Maritime Police is becoming unbearable to the clearing and forwarding subsector particularly the clearing and forwarding agents or Customs brokers.
This same group which has now outsmarted the original and well known port police, is now becoming a thorn in the flesh of most truckers, clearing and forwarding agents, as they are extorting huge sums of money from these truck drivers and their motor boy.
The well known and authorised port police is now defending itself the atrocities of this so-called maritime police who are not alone in this business of extortion from the truckers but have collaborators.
Investigations also show that even men and officers from the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army and even Vulcanizers have all abandoned the legitimate works and now neck deep in this ugly deal of chasing containers and thereabout are smiling to banks on daily basis.
Facts also available indicate that these notorious elements collects from these truck drivers amounts ranging as high as from N50,000 to N90,000 from each truck driver for them to just be allowed to have access to the port for loading and off loading of consignments or empty containers.
This illicit business, reports eyewitnesses say is going on daily basis, is not only adding to the port congestion nor the already out of hand gridlock of Apapa Oshodi Expressway, but equally affecting the cost of doing business in Nigeria generally.
A victim of such High level extortion, Mr. Philip Ogbonna, an elder statesman, a veteran and old Customs Brokerage business has this to share.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of Mr. Ogbonna said: ”These men Confiscated my container that is conveying traveling bags and school bags. I showed them all the relevant documents signed by Customs, NAFDAC, SON SSS, police, in fact, all the relevant government agencies in the port and released by the Customs ”.
Mr. Ogbonna hesitantly told that if they insist in seizing it that they should sign a document that if you reposition this for re-examination and nothing is found, you will go for the domorage and the cost of doing the second examination.
From N50,000 to 100,000 that is what they are collecting.”
They stated all these things I just told you. They said I should write statement and that was exactly what I wrote inside that statement. They collected the statement.
Now it turned to come today come tomorrow issue but they ended up in collecting N50,000. Why they collected this N50,000 was because I went there with my union identification card. That is is even called my president Lucky Amiwero. That is What about those young boys who cannot go all these while?
According to this aggrieved agent and a man who had been a victim of the circumstance, said, before this time used to know only the port police but today there is a group that calls themselves Maritime Police. He said this group are coming from Obalande and that is from Lagos State Police Command now coming to the ports to extort money from agents and their importers.
Mr. Ogbonna who is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chinex Investment Nigeria Limited decried the atrocities been melted on the Nigerian consumers, adding that the economic effects must definitely fall back on the consuming public.
He called on government to do something to stop these bad elements from making things difficult for Nigerians.
He however, advised the up coming freight forwarders to shun any form of sharp practice while counselling them that fraudulent ways of practicing as a practitioner will not help them rather it will put them into trouble and ruin their reputation before their importers.
Pleading with them that the only and acceptable way is honesty, reliability, trustworthiness and integrity while dealing with their clients.