We counted over 700 checkpoints between Lagos, Port Harcourt, importers allege

The Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC) has lamented that to move a container from Lagos ports to Port Harcourt in the Eastern part of the country, an importer has to pass through over 700 checkpoints where money is demanded for by security agents. Addressing maritime journalists on Tuesday in Apapa, President […]

The Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC) has lamented that to move a container from Lagos ports to Port Harcourt in the Eastern part of the country, an importer has to pass through over 700 checkpoints where money is demanded for by security agents.

Addressing maritime journalists on Tuesday in Apapa, President of SNFFIEC, Chief Chukwu Osita Patrick warned that if in 14 days, the government does not dislodge the checkpoints, his group will mobilise to protest over brazen extortion of road users by security operatives.

According to Osita Chukwu, “Just last week, I went to the South-East and the South-South, and was shocked at the numbers of checkpoints along the highways leading to these places. I am not here to talk about the state of the roads because we all know what they are.

“However, I didn’t expect to see pole-to-pole checkpoints along our highways under a democratic system of government. No wonder haulage operators slam importers huge sum of money to move cargoes from Lagos to those places.

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“From Lagos to Enugu, and down to Port Harcourt, I counted the checkpoints, and they are over 700. With all these checkpoints, yet the insecurity in this country is alarming. Tell me, what is the relevance of these checkpoints if insecurity issues is still plaguing us as a nation?

“At each checkpoints, you pay between N3000 to N5000 for private vehicle owners while tankers and container carrying trucks pay more. A journey of fewer than 11 hours from Lagos to Enugu now goes for two or three days for container carrying trucks. The bribery is getting too much on road users.

“To freight agricultural produce from the east to the ports here in Lagos for export is now very expensive due to money paid along our highways.

“I am holding this briefing because I want the government to come out publicly and tell us where we are suppose to have checkpoints on these highways. Yes, I know checkpoint is important due to security issues, but I am also sure we are not supposed to have over 700 checkpoints.

“The most notorious spots are in Ijebu-Ode, Edo, Delta and moving towards Rivers. This is contributing to the high cost of doing business in our ports. It’s time government need to look into this anomaly. We cannot continue like this.

“Let the government tell us where there should be checkpoints, so that we can challenge the illegal checkpoints on our highways. You will get to some checkpoints and see just one security officer holding a gun and blocking the road with a log of timber. What sort of thing is this?”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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