The coordinator of the Patriots Anti-Corruption Initiative, Stephen Ibe.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The Patriots Anti-Corruption Initiative (PACI), a non-governmental group that champions the fight against any form of illegality and corrupt practices within the Maritime sector has given hard knocks to the security apparatus in the sector particularly the Maritime Police. In an exclusive interview with the coordinator of the group, Mr. Stephen Ibe in Apapa Lagos, he deplored what he called the acts of impunity on the part of the Maritime police as he said that their action cause a lot of untold hardship to practitioners along the logistics chain value.
Mr. Ibe said that two letters of protest have been written by the Initiative to the inspector-general of police complaining about the activities of the Maritime Police, the first of the letters he said was minuted to Alagbon close Ikoyi, but with no positive result coming out of that as the evidence of their complaints was requested at Alagbon close. “We were also invited only once at Kam Salem house Ikoyi, but that visit did not also yield any positive result as they were also asking for evidence, be that as it may many freight forwarders have been complaining about the activities of the maritime police as they indiscriminately stop and arrest trucks carrying out cargoes and demanding outrageous amounts of money before they are released”.
Mr. Ibe added that “They, the maritime police are also very fond of blocking cargoes at the point of clearing especially at APMT, but we have tried to stop this nefarious activity there, but the illegal blockade continues and the people at the top echelon of the police have refused to do something about it. They are usually there with the Customs and other relevant government agencies when cargoes are examined at the ports, but they still find reasons to arrest the truck carrying your cargo and you are asked to pay the sum of One Hundred Thousand Naira for a forty feet container and Fifty Thousand Naira for a twenty feet container. When you multiply the amount with the number of containers, you have a better idea of what I am talking about and all these kinds of illegal extra charges cause lots of economic losses to the nation”.
The PACI coordinator complains that sometines what happens is that whenever a cargo is cleared at the Port and you try to deliver the cargo to the destination, the vehicle carrying the cargo is intercepted by the police from the Kam Salem house with the excuse that they are acting on intelligence that there is an infraction on the intercepted cargo, but that is usually a ploy to extort money out of the owner and no matter how genuine you case may be, you are made to part with money because you want to deliver the cargo to the owner without more delays and the attendant extra costs. “All these are acts of corruption and I do not know why the police authorities have refused to act on our complaints”. He wants these acts of extortion to stop.
Mr. Ibe spoke with nostalgia about his childhood days in Nigeria and says that things have deteriorated so badly, the various illegal activities of government agents were there, but not so brazen as they are today and when you make complaints then, you were sure to have a level of support and positive reaction to ameliorate the effects of the negative activity, but things are different now with so much impunity in the system. He hopes that things will soon start taking a new and better turn for everyone in the country.
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