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ETO has failed to tame  Apapa gridlock—-Koko, NPA MD, laments

Eyewitness reporter
For the first time since the commencement of the electronic call-up system popularly referred to as ETO, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the promoter of the system, has acknowledged the painful fact that the electronic option has failed to address the intractable Apapa traffic gridlock.
Agonising on the persistent chaos on the ports access roads despite the deployment of the electronic call-up system, the Acting Managing Director of NPA, Muhammed Bello Koko, declared that the biggest problem of his interim administration at the NPA is the traffic gridlock in and around Lagos Ports corridor that has defiled all the solutions.
It could be recalled that after several trials of the manual system to manage truck movement in and out of the ports had failed to ease the malignant traffic gridlock on the ports access roads, the NPA deployed the electronic call-up system of traffic management on February 27th, 2021 to streamline the truck movement.
But five months down the line, the much-vaunted automated system called ETO, has failed to tame the menace.
Speaking on Sunday on the intractable crisis on the road, Koko lamented that a number of problems, including sabotage from his staff, have frustrated all the attempts so far made to ease traffic gridlock on Lagos ports access roads.
 “For more than 10 years now, the Apapa traffic gridlock has defiled all solutions” he lamented.
He said the ETO system was 90 days old when he assumed duties as the Acting Managing Director of NPA, but the problem has not abated.
“There are also saboteurs even among our staff. We have had to issue queries to NPA staff involved and we are taking action.

“We have sent some home to allow for proper investigation. Others have been queried and some have been moved across ports.

“We have made it clear that we shall not tolerate saboteurs in the system no matter where they are coming from,” he said.

Koko delved into the series of actions taken by the management of NPA to end the gridlock.
“At NPA, we believe that priority needs to be given to our export cargo, but the major challenge for me is how to solve the gridlock in Apapa.

“One of the first executive actions I took when I was appointed was to visit the Tin can Apapa corridor to ensure that the right things are done and the right infrastructure is deployed. We are getting there gradually.

“We have put in measures to minimise the congestion in and around the port. NPA was using manual manifest and call-up system which was not very effective because of human interference.

“We have brought in ETO (electronic call-up system), to ensure smooth inward and outward movement of cargo from the port.

“The company, TTP was given Lilypond on when they should operate. The idea was to ensure that all trucks coming in are supposed to move from trailers parks to Lilypond then to the port.

“They were supposed to have deployed some physical and electronic infrastructure but that was not done.

“When I was appointed, I gave them an ultimatum to ensure that those items are installed as quickly as possible.
“I can assure you today that there has been more deployment of assets by TTP.

“I also requested that we need to sit down and reappraise what they have achieved.

“ETO was 90 days old when I resumed. We did an analysis to see where we are, what has been achieved and we identified where the gaps were. So, what I did was to push for immediate implementation of the agreement between us and TTP.

“The idea of enforcement, whatever you come up with, there must be enforcement, so we liaised with the Lagos State Government to ensure that we have the right security operatives on the ground.

“We have also collaborated with Lagos State Government through Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASMA), which has brought a bit more sanity to the system.

“Because of our intense focus, there is already some improvement. There is a better flow of traffic. But let me finally say that the major hindrance to ETO is the road.

He however lamented that these efforts were being compromised by lack of good roads and human interference in terms of the activities of military personnel and touts.

“The Tin Can corridor is bad. We have had discussions with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure that the construction company deploys its gadgets to start construction around that area.

“We have also complained about multiple checkpoints which we have tried to reduce because it is bringing a lot of extortions and creating a lot of traffic.

“The final issue is the stakeholders themselves; they need to buy into this. I keep saying that the worst of ETO is better than the best of the last system that we were using,” he said.

He said that NPA had met with stakeholders and agreed that any truck park that did not install CCTV, ensure proper convenience for vehicle owners and drivers and had no automated gate system should be delisted.

“The idea is for the truck parks to be dovetailed into the ETO system,” he declared.

“What we have observed is interference by government agencies and the stakeholders themselves.

Apapa gridlock

“Rather than pay the ETO ticket, they find a way to bring in military men. You find out that at night, military men escort vehicles which is sabotage.

“The stakeholders themselves need to buy into the ETO system. We have had town hall meetings with stakeholders to let them understand that this is a system that we are not going to change.

“The world has gone automated, so we need to reduce human interference.”
The managing director also complained about the activities of touts generally referred to as “area boys”.

“They (area boys) are involved in extortion and find ways to divert these trucks. We discovered a building not far away from Apapa gate where one can get a number plate printed in less than 20 minutes.

“This number can be used to get an ETO ticket. We have told the security agencies; they have raided the building and investigations are ongoing. So, we are moving from the normal ETO that has digits to QR codes which are difficult to duplicate.

He emphasized that for the ETO system to work properly, there have to be multiple trailer parks.

“We advertised and people showed interest in providing the parks that NPA will use for the ETO. We gave them what was needed for them to qualify: uninterrupted power supply because of the CCTV and the automated systems, Internet access network, and automated gate systems.

“Some of them have started while some of them have not. Those that have not deployed, we have given them a few more days but I think that in not more than 10 days, any park that does not meet those requirements, we will delist it and give others a chance.

“If the parks are not effective and don’t meet what we want, then the efficiency of ETO will also be affected. We have given them a couple of days after which we will delist any one of them that doesn’t meet the requirements.

“As at our last meeting, the decision is to give them a maximum of two weeks,” he declared.

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Freight Monitor

President Buhari to commission multi-billion naira Dala Inland dry port Monday –Ahmad Rabiu

The Eyewitness reporter
All is set for the commissioning of the Dala International inland dry port on Monday 31st January 2023 by President Muhammad Buhari at Zawachiki in Kumbotso local government area of Kano state.
The Managing Director of the international inland dry port Ahmad Rabiu, stated this while addressing newsmen on the preparation for the inauguration of the port at its headquarters in Kano.
Ahmad Rabiu, who was joined by the chairman of the inland dry port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro, said its the first international inland dry port where cargoes will go anywhere in the world from Kano state without follow up to any sea ports across Nigeria.
Ahmad Rabiu told newsmen that the federal government under President Muhammad Buhari has given all the support required for the take-up, noting that they have met the requirement on infrastructure and other critical amenities.
The MD said the stacking area has the capacity of containing 20 thousand units of containers before moving anywhere at any time, noting that the area covers six hectares of land and the management is willing to add more.
According to Ahmad Rabiu, all the requirements needed for clearance by businessmen, and customs duty will be done right from Kano without follow-up to any seaport in Nigeria.
On his part, the chairman of Dala Inland Dry Port, Alhaji Abubakar Sahabu Bawuro said the management of the port is prepared technically, and physically with interested partners and is going to boost businesses in Kano, Nigeria and Africa in general and urged members of the press to partner with the management in ensuring efficiency, emphasizing that the place is not a monument but a business venture.
The chairman said Dala Inland Dry Port is now a solution to the problems brought about by the seaports and they will introduce cargo tracking and door-to-door delivery of goods and services.
He said the success of the inland dry port is a joint venture between the state government, the business community, regulatory agencies and the Federal Government of Nigeria and to make business in Kano and its neighborhood more competitive.
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Freight Monitor

CRFFN rejects re-appointment bid of ousted Sam Nwakohu

Ousted CRFFN Registrar, Nwakohu
— appoints Uromta as Acting Registrar
—-shops for substantive Registrar.
The Eyewitness reporter
The Council for the Registration of Freight forwarding Practice in Nigeria (CRFFN) has thrown out the re-election bid of the outgoing Registrar of the Council, Sam Nwakohu.
In an emergency meeting of the council Thursday at its Abuja liaison office, the Council appointed Mrs. Chinyere Uromta, the Director of Regulations and Enforcement, as an acting Registrar pending the time a substantive registrar will be appointed.
The decision of the council to reject the reelection bid of the ousted Registrar was based on the recommendations of its ad hoc committee to look into the request of Nwakohu for a second term tenure.
The outgoing registrar, last year, at the December meeting of the council, submitted a letter, requesting to be considered for a second term shot at the lucrative position.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Council, Alhaji Abubakar Tsanni set up an ad-hoc committee, headed by Efeanyi Isikaku, to look into the request of Nwakohu and submit its report in two weeks.
“Following the completion of its assignment and submission of its report, the council, therefore, convened today (Thursday)in Abuja to deliberate on the next line of action to be taken in respect of the committee’s recommendations.
” The AdHoc committee made important recommendations with reference to the provisions of Public Service Rules as well as the council’s Act.
“The committee however, recommended that in order to avoid a vacuum after the expiration of the Registrar’s tenure, the council shall start making arrangements for a handover of the Registrar’s office to the most senior management staff of the council.
“Similarly, the committee also recommended that the Appointment Promotion and Discipline committee of the council be directed to start making preparations for reappointment or appointment of substantive Registrar”  Muftahu Ya’u, the chairman Committee on Media and Publicity of the governing council,  declared in a statement he sent to our reporter.
 “Finally, the council’s chairman soon after the adoption, approval, and ratification of the committee’s recommendations by members of the council directed the followings:
that arrangement for the Registrar’s handover to Mrs. Chinyere Uromta  Director, Regulations and Enforcement on 31st of January 2023.
“That committee on Appointment Promotion and Discipline go ahead to start preparations for reappointment/appointment of a new Registrar” the head of media and publicity of the council concluded.
It could be recalled that soon after Nwakohu made his ambition known to succeed himself as the Registrar of the council, he went on a lobbying spree, trying to woo the council members to buy into his ambition.
But sources close to the council whispered to our reporter that the second term bid of Nwakohu was dead on arrival due to lots of baggage he carries.
“There was no way he could have succeeded in his obnoxious bid to succeed himself.
Firstly, it was a general consensus among the freight forwarding confraternity that Nwakohu failed woefully as the registrar.
“He is incompetent, arrogant and someone not ready to learn,” a highly placed source said.
“Also, several allegations of financial sleaze against him have not been cleared.
“Similarly, the council members were not happy at the way Nwakohu handled the purchase of the CRFFN Abuja liaison office which cost they felt was inflated.
“All these and other uncharitable behavior of the outgoing registrar are enough reasons not to reappoint him as the Council registrar” the source claimed.
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Headlines

Transportation ministry inaugurates project committee for Ondo, Benin seaports

 

The Eyewitness reporter
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, has inaugurated
a Project Steering Committee for the proposed Ondo Deep & Benin Seaports.
Dr. Magdalene Ajani, while inaugurating the Committee on behalf of the Nigerian government at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja Wednesday,  stated that the Committee is saddled with providing guidance and direction on the projects.
She also charged the members of the committee to also facilitate necessary permits, clearance & approvals for the projects.
The permanent secretary said it is also the responsibility of the committee to prepare the transaction for the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Muazu Sambo, to obtain the approval of tte Federal Executive Council.
She charged them to hit the ground running immediately.
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