Despite the completion of Electronic Truck call-up clearance since May 25, at least 35 fully-loaded trucks headed for various dryland ports in Nigeria were only allowed to continue their movement out of Apapa seaport in Lagos State, FIJ can report.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had on May 25 ordered the closure of the ‘Baba Garage’ at the Marine Bridge on the allegation that some trucks used for exporting goods were taking advantage of the garage to boycott export duties.
Last week, FIJ reported about how the lockdown put the seaport at the risk of explosion due to the presence of fully-loaded fuel tankers among other trucks loaded at the same garage.
Few hours after the report, the Police evacuated the fuel tankers, insisting that the truck drivers should pay a bribe before their release.
The truck drivers who spoke with FIJ however insisted that they had not committed an offence that should warrant their long delay at the port.
“We have been using this garage for over five years now. All we do here is to park our trucks here and do little repairs in case of emergencies,” one of the drivers, who asked not to be named, said.
“Can trucks with waybill and call-up papers be illegal? Some of us have been inside the port for over a month and were only cleared a day before this garage was locked.”
Many of the truck drivers indeed showed FIJ their complete shipping documents. Added to other shipping documents, the new Electronic Truck call-up system is a joint initiative of NPA and the Lagos State government to ease traffic within the Apapa seaport and eradicate corruption by security officials.
A source confirmed to FIJ on Wednesday that the garage was reopened at about 9pm on Tuesday.
The garage manager, who simply identified as Alhaji Akeem, also told FIJ on Tuesday evening: “The issues have been resolved with the state government.
“As we speak, I am just returning from the Office of the Governor to see the Special Assistant to the Governor on Transportation. He promised to speak with the Area B Commander at Apapa to reopen the garage and I believe that would be done soon.”
On the allegation by the NPA that the park was illegal, Akeem further stated that he had registered to make his garage legal since March but the papers were yet to be approved.
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