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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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Headlines

IGP grieves over assault on policewoman

Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola

 

— orders prosecution of culprits
 Owolola Adebola

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba,  has strongly condemned the grievous assault of a female Police Officer, Inspector Teju Moses, by her principal who is a Legal practitioner and human rights activist, Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola and her domestic staff comprising the housemaid, one Rebecca Enechido and a male suspect currently at large.

Zainab Duke, a Mbaise-born activist, grievously assaulted her orderly in the company of some accomplices on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at her residence in Garki, Abuja, due to the refusal of the orderly to breach professional ethics by carrying out menial and domestic chores at her house.

The IGP also directed the express prosecution of the arrested suspects who are currently in Police custody, as the preliminary investigation shows overwhelming evidence of culpability on the part of the Professor and her domestic staff.

The IGP has equally tasked the investigative team to ensure that the fleeing suspect is arrested and made to face the wrath of the law.

It is pertinent to clarify that the suspect, Prof. Zainab, who name-drops the IGP, his family members, and other officers in the top hierarchy of the Force has no acquaintance with the Police in any form as erroneously peddled on social media.

The Inspector-General of Police who similarly ordered the withdrawal of all Police personnel attached to the Professor expressed consternation at the fact that an individual who claims to be an advocate for Human Rights could stoop so low as to violate the rights of another individual, a police officer tasked with ensuring her protection.

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Customs

Customs collects N1.7trn  revenue in 8 months

CGC, Ali

 

–embarks on aggressive revenue hunts to meet target

The Eyewitness reporter

The Nigeria Customs Service has collected a whooping sum of  N1,755,386,486,390.02  as revenue in the first eight months of the year spanning January and August.

The service made the highest monthly earnings of N241,903,781,854.46 in August as the service intensifies its aggressive revenue drive to meet the expectations of the Federal Government which has come to rely on the revenue from the service to fund its critical project.

This follows the diversification of government to non-oil sectors and expands its tax base due to the dwindling revenue from the oil sector.
The revenue in the first eight months of 2022 is N363,436,321,614.95 higher than N1,391,950,164,775.97 the customs collected in the corresponding period of 2021.

Abuja has increased its focus on non-oil revenue sources, prompting higher expectations from revenue collection agencies such as the NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), among others.

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Headlines

Jamoh wears OFR diadem as Buhari confers national honour on NIMASA DG

 

The Eyewitness reporter 
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has expressed deep appreciation to President Mohammed Buhari for being conferred with one of the highest national honours in Nigeria, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

The Office of the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has conveyed this good news to Dr Jamoh in a letter of Award which has slated the investiture ceremony for the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Monday, 10th October 2022.

Recall that Dr. Jamoh had served the Nigerian maritime sector as an administrator for over 30 years when he was appointed by President Buhari as the NIMASA DG in March 2020.

Since that time, he has overseen the successful deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project which has played a major role in achieving a reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to its barest minimum since 1994 and culminating in Nigeria being removed from the infamous piracy red list by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.

A hallmark of his tenure at the helm of NIMASA has been his institutionalization of collaboration among stakeholders, within and outside the country, to achieve significant milestones in the sector.

One notable example of this is his initiation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/ Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE), which has demonstrated the positive outcomes of information sharing among regional and non-regional military forces in achieving a secure maritime space.

Reacting to the news on his social media handle, Dr Jamoh expressed gratitude for being considered for the honour stating:

“Words cannot express how humbled I feel to be so considered for the National Honour as an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).

“When I began my maritime journey 30 years ago, little did I know that Almighty Allah would so favour me to rise to the position of NIMASA DG, let alone to be considered for one of the highest honours in the land”.

Dr Jamoh especially thanked His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Standing Committee on National Honours Award for deeming him worthy of the honour while also appreciating everyone who had supported him throughout his tenure as NIMASA Director General, especially the maritime stakeholders.

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