Over N3 Billion Racket Allegation, Prof. Osinbajo Taskforce Busted? Real Reason Mile 2 – Apapa Port Road Construction is Endless

Over three billion naira is alleged to have been collected illegally from truck owners by the Presidential Taskforce on the clearance of Apapa gridlock chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo since inception of its operations on May 24th 2019.

This allegation was made by Chief Anthony Agbalusi, the deputy chairman of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, Tin Can Island chapter.

This also explains why the construction of Oshodi – Apapa port corridor has become endless, as the dilapidated state of the roads have become an estate of corruption through sustained extortion of freight operators and haulage operators of billions of naira.

This has also contributed to huge inflation and high costs of goods in the open import-dependent markets for the poor masses of Nigeria. In other words, Nigerians are the ones paying the price of the extortion and sharp practices.

According to an interview monitored in Arise Television in Lagos recently, Agbalusi, who is also the Chairman of Concerned Truck Owners Forum made a telegraphic presentation of how the taskforce had turned the assignment given to it by President Muhammadu Buhari last year into a huge business and an empire of corruption.

This has frustrated the genuine efforts of Mr. President to ensure smooth transportation on the port corridor for seamless goods delivery. The haulage operator recalled that it was the outcry by truck owners over extortion by personnel of the Navy, who were managing the traffic in Apapa corridors that led to intervention of President Buhari.

He noted that even when other taskforces managed the traffic, including during the time the Nigeria Navy was in-charge, the trucks were made to file in one straight line as directed so that other vehicles will be passing on the same corridor. He said that this order was followed and operations were moving.

He alleged that the present disorder started after the establishment of the current Presidential Taskforce that has Engr Kayode Ogbeifa, former commissioner of transport in Lagos State as vice chairman. According to him, the taskforce stated that the federal government does not want vehicles on the road and ended up scattering the order of operations that had been established at that time.

He alleged that after displacing the former operational order, the taskforce started collecting 300,000 naira to pass each truck moving to the ports. He claimed that “it is either you pay… or your vehicle will be parked.”

Explaining further, he alleged that the Presidential Taskforce, as a routine, passed 150 vehicles every Monday from Fatgbems filling station and Second Rainbow bus stop on Mile 2 axis of Oshodi – Apapa expressway to Apapa, collecting 170,000 naira per truck, totaling 25.5 million naira for one day.

Continuing, Agbalusi alleged that on Wednesdays, 150 trucks were also passed from the Kirikiri axis and same amount collected; and either on Friday or Saturday, another 150 trucks were again passed from Fatgbems filling station and Second Rainbow bus stop on Mile 2 axis.

The haulage operator disclosed that it takes between six weeks and two months for a truck to access Apapa to pick-up or drop cargo; when a journey from Lagos to Kano and back by trucks takes only five days.

He disclosed further that, on the Mile 2 axis, 170,000 naira paid at Mile 2 axis expires at Coconut bus stop near Tin Can Island port, where trucks were made to pay another 70,000 to pass from Trinity to First Gate of Tin Can Island port.

To pass from Tin Can First Gate to Second Gate, additional 50,000 naira was collected from trucks to pass them, making a total of 300,000 naira per truck. He also stated that the scenario was similar on the Costain to Apapa axis.

The union leader also disclosed that the Presidential Taskforce designated a Fidelity Bank account in the name of Hitech Nigeria Limited, where truck owners were remitting monies to the Taskforce that was also issuing them receipts, which were not government receipts.

He called for a panel of enquiry to be set up to probe his allegation of fraudulent activities of the Presidential Taskforce with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Engr Kayode Opeifa as chairman and vice chairman, respectively. Meanwhile, all attempts to reach Engr. Opeifa to react to the allegations failed as at the time of going to press, he rejected several calls made to his Glo mobile phone line. Further investigations and details of this story will be featured in subsequent bulletins of FreightWatch.

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