“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
Buhari, Jonathan, Obasanjo, Babangida, Abdusalami, Osinbajo, Atiku, others to spend N13.8billon from N27.5 trillion 2024 budget
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Federal government has earmarked the sum of N13.8 billion in the 2024 budget as the cost of upkeep of
former presidents, vice presidents, heads of state, Chiefs of General Staff, retired heads of service, permanent secretaries, and retired heads of government agencies and parastatals.
The beneficiaries include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, ex-vice-presidents Atiku Abubakar, Namadi Sambo and Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Also expected to benefit from the windfall are ex-military Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdusalami Abubakar, as well as a former dictator and self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, and a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.).
Also, N1tn was provisioned for the public service wage adjustment for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (including arrears of promotion and salary increases, and payment of severance benefits and minimum wage-related adjustments).
A breakdown shows that the entitlements of former presidents/heads of state and vice presidents/chief of general staff will cost N2.3bn. At the same time, N10.5bn is proposed as benefits for retired heads of service, permanent secretaries and professors.
The payment of severance benefits to retired heads of government agencies and parastatals is proposed to cost N1bn.
Other allocations include N65bn for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants; N1bn for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Energy; and N108bn for unnamed special projects.
The government is also proposing the sum of N40bn to offset electricity debts owed to power distribution companies by all MDAs.
President Bola Tinubu unveiled the N27.5 trillion budget estimates for the 2024 fiscal year.
The budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, where it is currently undergoing scrutiny and deliberation for final approval.
In his presentation, he declared, “The 2024 Appropriation has been themed the Budget of Renewed Hope.
The proposed budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security.
News Alert: Wale Adeniyi revives CG conference, holds 2023 edition December 13-15 in Lagos.
Ukraine blocks Russia’s reelection bid at IMO council elections
The outcome is another blow for Russia after it failed in its bid to return to the UN’s top human rights body in October, in an election seen as a key test of Western efforts to keep Moscow isolated.
Last year, Moscow also failed to win enough votes for re-election to the UN aviation agency’s governing council.
The London-based International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for regulating the safety and security of international shipping and preventing pollution and comprises 175 member state countries.
Russia has been a member since 1958 and has been consistently re-elected to the IMO Council.
With voting on Friday, 40 countries were elected by secret ballot to the IMO Council, which supervises the work of the body.
In October, Russia said the IMO was departing from its impartial role due to “external pressure” which it said was impacting the fair treatment of all member countries.
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