The Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC) has bemoaned the extortion of money by security agents at the numerous checkpoint areas along the road from importers who move goods from Lagos port to Portharcourt in the Eastern region.
Addressing maritime journalist on Tuesday, in Apapa, President of SNFFIEC, Chief Chukwu Osita Patrick warned that if the Government doesn’t do anything about it in the next 14 days, he will mobilize his group to protest the injustice.
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.”
“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.”
“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.”