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Truck Owners, Importers, Others Call For Disbandment Of Presidential Taskforce On Apapa Gridlock Over Extortion.

Truck owners, Clearing Agents, Importers and other operators at the Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports in Lagos have called on President Buhari to disband the Presidential Taskforce On Apapa ports areas over extortion
The different Port stakeholders have cried out against alleged indiscriminate extortion by security officials at the facilities.
Speaking with our correspondent at Apapa port, the operators also alleged that the worsening traffic gridlock along the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the port access road at the Tin Can Island Port Complex was as a result of the illegal activities of the security officials.
According to some of them, “The Port Security, Police and the Presidential Task Team on Apapa Gridlock have created an artificial traffic situation to extort the drivers, importers and clearing agents when the goods have already been cleared”.
Describing the alleged illegal operation of the officials as “well organized and institutionalized,” the operators urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate disbandment of the presidential task team on the Apapa gridlock.
The Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Remi Ogungbemi, who spoke with our correspondent on telephone from Lagos, said his association had made several complaints and reports have been made to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) management but drew no response.
“I had personally witnessed on several occasions when truck drivers forced to pay huge bribes before being allowed into the port to do business. This has increased the cost of doing business in the country and worsened inflation in the economy.
He lamented, “The introduction of the president team on Apapa gridlock, in place of Nigerian Navy officials, has worsened the traffic situation in the area. The situation has degenerated so badly that members of the (task team) have formed themselves into a cabal or cartel, such that if a truck operator does not belong to their circle, his truck will not be given access to the port”.
“They have a special operation code. If you are not a member of the syndicate or cartel and cannot provide the special code for the day, they will not allow your truck into the port,” Mr Ogungbemi said.
He said the activities of the syndicate is so pervasive that hardly would one find anyone operating at the port who is not involved, including some members of his association, who, he said, were frustrated into joining in the illegalities for the survival of their businesses.
Truck operators lament. Some truck drivers also expressed frustration over the situation. They said the perennial traffic jam along the Apapa-Oshodi expressway was not only due to the poor condition of the roads, but also as a result of several operators who park their trucks along the roads after being denied access for failure to pay bribes to the security officials.
A truck owner and an executive member of the AMATO, Sanni Bala, said the illegal activities of the syndicate was seriously affecting port operations as cargo delivery has considerably slowed down.
According to him, trucks having to pay bribes of between N70,000 and N200,000 has inflated haulage and shipping costs, and is also fueling inflation in the country.
“The extortion by NPA security officials, police and the Presidential Task Team along Apapa and Tin Can Port road axis has become a daily routine.
“It is an institutionalized phenomenon that is taking a serious toll on the income of truck owners and exacerbating the plight of motorists on that axis.
“The traffic problem along the access road is artificial and caused by human factors, to create a convenient environment for the syndicate to extort operators,” Mr Bala said.
A clearing agent operating at the Tin Can Island Port, Ojo Akintoye, identified four toll points between the first and second gates of the Tin Can Island Port complex erected by the Presidential Task Team, Police and NPA officials where trucks pay bribes before being granted access to the port.
In each of the toll gates, Mr Akintoye said truck drivers pay between N1.1 million and N1.2 million to be granted access against the previous N100,000 to move containers out of the port.
“The cheapest a truck could be hired today as a result of the extortions by the syndicate is about N1 million to move goods out of the port,” he said.
“Disband task team now. The National Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, also called on President Buhari to disband the task team, which he said has become “a money-making machine.”
Mr Farinto said clearing agents lose an average of N300 million weekly to illegal collections by NPA security officials, police and members of the Presidential Task Team, adding that to access the port, truck operators pay as high as N280,000 to security operatives along the way.
He lamented the absence of an electronic call-up system, saying that the manual call up system currently being used by the NPA was fueling corruption.
 
Security Structure Shake-up: RRS Commander, Tunji Disu Removed, Chairman Taskforce Saheed Egbeyemi Takes Over.
The Lagos Super Cop, Commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), DCP Tunji Disu has been removed from office in a major shake-up in the State Security arrangement on Wednesday.

Authoritative source revealed to our correspondent that the workaholic officer who was removed on Wednesday and directed to report to the Operations Department of the Force Headquarters in Abuja, was immediately replaced by the Chairman of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Other Special Offences, Saheed Egbeyemi.

Likewise, the newly appointed Commander of the Governor’s Monitoring Team (GMT), SP Sola Jejeloye, has been upgraded to replace Egbeyemi as the Task Force Chairman, while SP Ibrahim Bakare has been appointed as the GMT Commander.

According to the source, the State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu who was also pencilled down for redeployment retained his position, a development that came as a surprise to many.

There had been calls in some quarters, calling for Odumosu’s transfer from Lagos over his alleged role in the #EndSARS protests, with some protesters demanding for his removal. But not many saw Disu’s removal coming, even though his exploits in RRS was fast gaining ground.

Disu, who occupied the position throughout the four-year spell of former governor, Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration, succeeded in changing the face of RRS in the State, with the code name, “The Good Guys”.

On Wednesday, Disu had posted a message on his Facebook page and it was learnt that it might not be unconnected to the information which trickled in late Wednesday night.

He wrote: “I’m thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength. Alhamdullilah Robi Allahmin. New frontiers.”

Disu, an amiable super cop and a workaholic, has paid his dues in the security trajectory in several states across Nigeria, including Lagos.

He came into limelight in 2003, after he was appointed as the Aide De Camp to the former governor and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He has also served at the Ogun State Police Command, as the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in-charge of Ago-Iwoye and also led the Nigeria Police contingent on African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), to quell the crisis in the war-torn Darfur, in 2005.

Upon return to Nigeria, he was the Officer in charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Ondo State Police Command Headquarters and subsequently, Officer in-charge of the SARS, Oyo and Rivers States Police Command Headquarters.

Soon afterwards, he was elevated to a new rank as an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), and he was at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), of the Rivers State Police Command, before his transfer to Lagos State Command and subsequent deployment as the commander in-charge of RRS.

However there are feelers that Disu might be penciled down for a higher assignment in the Force in Abuja, hence, the decision of the Police hierarchy to redeploy him to the Federal Capital Territory.

With the Police Force still battling to recover from the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests, as well as several ongoing probe panels across the country, Disu’s managerial acumen may just come in handy.

CRAN Commends Security Agencies On Abilities To Curtail COVID-19 induced challenges.

The Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) on Thursday commended top security authorities and officials in proffering solutions to the management of COVID-19 viz-a-viz security challenges in the country.

Mr Sunday Odita, President of the association made the commendation during the 29th edition of the CRAN lecture and annual awards with theme: “Managing COVID-19 RELATED SECURITY CHALLENGES”, held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State.  

He noted that the combined efforts by the security agencies during the COVID-19 period assisted greatly in curbing the spread of the deadly disease.

Odita explained that CRAN’s annually event was the only private sector initiated event where top security chiefs in all the law enforcement agencies were brought under one roof to share ideas.

“Over the years, our lectures have focused on relevant issues that called for expert discussion and recommendations. Deliberations arising from such discussions have gone a long way in helping security communities in finding solutions to the perceived challenges,” he said.

The president said that CRAN’s 2020 lecture and awards theme which focuses on managing the pandemics related security challenges was delivered by a former Assistant Director, Department of State Services (DSS) Mr Dennis Amachree.

“He is an icon in the security corridor whose pedigree as a former top brass in the nation’s secret service is second to none. There is no doubt he will do justice to the topic. We hope the communique released at the end of our deliberation will certainly assist securities agencies in their roles as we continue to expect an end to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Odita also revealed that CRAN’s annual event was a day set aside to honour dozens of Nigerians who have contributed in their modest ways to keep our lives and properties safe and secure.

“Some of them in spite of their selfless commitment to a crime free society may never have had the opportunity of being celebrated by any group if not for the diligent effort of CRAN.

“Among those to be honoured are gallant policemen and women who have distinguished themselves in character and service,” he said.

The president specially recognized an exceptional retired Commissioner of Police, CP Frank Odita, who urged journalists on crime beat to come together and form the body called CRAN today.

“CRAN is a group of journalists from various print, electronic and online media mandated by their organisations to cover crime, security, safety and allied events within the public and private security space.

“The Crime beat which covers activities in the Police, Immigration Service, Customs, Civil Defence Corp, NDLEA, NAPTIP, EFCC, DSS among other related agencies of government and private security sector is a branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ),” Odita said.

The president appreciated authorities of the public and private security outfits, banks, individuals and other stakeholders for supporting CRAN in different ways.

“We are exceptionally grateful to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Dr Bone Chinye, AIG Ahmed Ilyasu and his commissioner in charge of Lagos State Police Command, Hakeem Odumosu. We are grateful for everyone who has helped to ensure that today’s event is a success,” Odita said.

Some of the awardees in the ocassin  chaired by Dr Bone Chinye Efoziem, CEO, Strict Guard Security are: Ahmed Ilyasu, Asst. Inspector General of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, Commissioner of Police, Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene, Doyen of Arts, Julian Wealth Igbudu, Superintendent of Police, Alhaji Hamisu Lawan, Anti-Narcotics Commander and SP Abdulfatia Abolarin Adigun, Crime Burster.

Others are Jimoh Abiola, Chief Superintendent Cadre, Dr Dolapo Ayokunle Fasawe, Trail Blazer in Public Health, Environmental Protection, Bolanle Basirat Ajao, Passionate Public Affairs Officer, CSP Oyinpreyebofa Frances, DPO Aswani among other awardees.

Lagos CP, Security Expert Commend  CRAN For Supporting  Security Agencies.

The Commissioner of Police, Lagos Command, Hakeem Odumosu has emphasized the importance of crime reporters to the success of the operation of the police in the state .

Also, top security expert, Dr Bone Efoziem  commended the association for creating a forum to brainstorm on how to find solutions to security challenges in the country .

The Lagos police boss  made the emphasis on Thursday during the 29th Annual  Lecture  and Award  ceremony of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) which took place at Sheraton Hotel ,Ikeja,Lagos State .

CP Odumosu,who was represented at the occasion  by ACP  Jide  Agboola  also called for more partnership between the police and the crime reporters  

The police boss ,while making his remark during the  event, which was well  attended by top security practitioners said, “no doubt, CRAN has played a very important role  over the years .” 

“The police have enjoyed tremendous support and robust relationship with the association. We appreciate your partnership. The partnership is not taken for granted. We want to urge the association to keep the job going .You have done extremely well .” 

On the award ,the Lagos police boss said, “We appreciate CRAN for the award . It is a recognition of the good things we have been doing and it will spur us to want to do better .” 

The Lagos police boss also assured that “I can assure you that the partnership between the police and CRAN will continue”.

Dr Efoziem,who was the chairman of the 2020  edition of the annual award ceremony commended CRAN for choosing” an essential topic” for the event .

He said ” I want to once again thank CRAN for organizing this event  You know, it is good to organize an event better to gather people and the best is to get the right people to speak to you. The topic chosen this year is a very essential  and topical one, relevant to the country and the world at large”.

The annual event  has over the years been a forum through where solutions are proferred to the myriad of security challenges in the country .

Distinguished Nigerians who have done creditably well in the areas of security and other walks of life are also honoured during the annual event .

At the 2020 edition of the award, personalities honoured with awards for their contributions to the country includes: the AIG in charge of Zone 2, Ahmed Iliyasu, CP Hakeem Odumosu, DCP Tunji Disu, DCP Frank MBA, Isah Sulaimon, Tolulope Desmond Ogundipe, Olugboyega Peters, Baba Taiye Hassan, CSP Oyinpreyebofa Francesa, Chief Olabinjo Olanrewaju and SP Bala Elkana.

SEXUAL & GENDER BASE VIOLENCE: LAGOS FIRST LADY TAKES CAMPAIGN TO ALIMOSHO…

As the global 16 Days of Activism against Sexual & Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) continues, the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has extended the awareness campaign about gender based violence to residents and relevant stakeholders in Alimosho area of the State advocating for the involvement of members of the community in fighting the menace.
The Sensitization session which was held within the premises of Alimosho General Hospital was a partnership between the Office of the First Lady and the Ministry of Health to take the #SGBV campaign to the grassroots.
The wife of the Governor who was represented by the wife of the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mrs. Funmilayo Omotosho disclosed that the extension of the campaign to Alimosho Local Government was as a result of the high reported cases of #SGBV within the area and the need to reverse the trend.
Sanwo-Olu stated that relevant stakeholders within the local government must join hands with the State government to jointly address the menace and come forward with a very formidable strategy that will help change the narrative.
“For us in Lagos State, sexual abuse especially as it concerns women and children is an evil act that cannot and must not be tolerated. The devastating consequences are real and this is why we must sustain the advocacy and the fight against the menace to make the society a better place for all of us, and our children”, She stated.
While noting that the sustained advocacy against #SGBV is already yielding positive results,  Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the Bill to establish the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency and the Sex Offenders Register has scaled through the Second Reading in the Lagos State House of Assembly.
“When passed into law, the Bill will go a long way to frontally tackle the menace which has assumed the position of a pandemic, help to name and shame perpetrators, and most importantly, provide medical and legal support to the victims”, She assured.
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye said that #SGBV undermines the health, dignity and security its victims.
He noted that victims of #SGBV can suffer sexual and reproductive health consequences, including forced and unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, traumatic fistula, sexually transmitted infections including HIV, and even death.
Ogboye disclosed that the issue of sexual and gender based violence is of great importance to the First Lady , adding that efforts is being intensified to secure the support of the House of Assembly to promulgate relevant laws that would help prescribe appropriate punishment for culpable individuals.
He urged participants at the event to share information with other members of their community and people within their neighborhood such that everyone will become fully aware of the dangers that is in #SGBV
“The issue of #SGBV is going up in our community and we don’t want the worst to happen. People are dying as a result of this, women are being abused and some will never recover from the trauma in a lifetime and we don’t want this to continue, so, please, let’s take this information to our homes, our neighborhood and to our communities.”, Ogboye said
The Medical Director of Alimosho General Hospital, Dr. Madewa Adebajo said that the choice of the Hospital for the awareness campaign is significant considering the fact that it coincides with 16-days of activities on gender based violence across the State.
He extolled the First Lady for developing interest in the issue and other health related affairs and also commended the State Government for citing a Sexual Assault Referral Center within Alimosho General hospital.
The Medical Director challenged mothers, guardians and all relevant stakeholders to sensitize their children both the male and female gender and people within their vicinity, stressing that it takes two persons for molestation to take place.
He, however, expressed the hope that with the support of the First Lady, the Ministry of Justice and other relevant stakeholders within Alimosho and its environs, Alimosho Genral Hospital will ensure that the incidences of rape and domestic violence become a thing of the past.
Also speaking at the event, a Director from the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya underscored the need to have relevant laws in place to support the efforts of the DASTVR such that there will be appropriate punishment backed by law for perpetrators of the sexual offences.
She also advocated for the establishments of Sexual Register that will have the list of sexual offenders which can be perused by members of the public when seeking the services of an individuals with good moral standing.
Odusanya said that people must begin to show concern and get interested in sexual related issues, saying that residents of the State must begin to speak out and report #SGBV cases to DSVRT or the Ministry of Justice.
The high point of the event was the signing of symbolic pledge to restate commitment of all stakeholders in Alimosho to a Sexual and Gender Based Violence #SGBV Free Zone and Only to add the inspection of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) located inside the Alimosho General Hospital which is being established by the British Council Rule of Law Program, with sponsorship from the European Union.

The Community Sensitization and Awareness Meeting attracted various stakeholders in Alimosho Local Government Area and Local Council Development Areas including policy makers, religious & community leaders, women & men groups, artisans, students amongst others.
 
Strong FG Backing Will Make SON Fight Against
Sub-standard Products Effective – MAN.
The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Engr. Mansur Ahmed called for the Federal Government full support on the current fight against substandard products by the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) to achieve positive results.
 
He emphasized that the business of cleaning Nigerian environment of fake, sub-standard and unwholesome products will not be an easy task if the government failed to give needed full security backing to the agency incharge.
“Apart from the government’s regulatory bodies such as Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), there is need for growing conviction of offenders, while all hands should be on deck concerning the campaign against sub-standard products”, he said.
Ahmed said, “SON requires strong and full federal government’s backing, financially or otherwise, in order to enable the agency perform its task satisfactorily. The Organization needs to be assisted especially if the nation would make a headway economic diversification and industrialization”.
Speaking during a recent courtesy visit to MAN members by the SON Director General, Mallam Farouk Salim, in Lagos, Engr. Ahmed deposed both the government and private sector players should support, co-operate and continue to collaborate with SON to check counterfeiting and illicit businesses across the country.
The President, MAN also appealed to the federal government to allow the SON to return to the nation’s seaports as a way of checking the influx of sub-standard products into the country.
According to MAN President, Engr. Ahmed Mansur, the presence of SON at the seaports would make its work more efficient and effective rather than allowing it to chase containers in the highways and markets. 
In his words, ‘‘we have made strong representations to the relevant ministries and the agencies and we are making steady progress to ensure that there would be smooth operations at the ports when SON is returned. I believe that when they do that, the whole system will be harmonized so as not to generate another congestion at the ports. That was what led to the problem, but I believe that with the use of technology, better system would be put in place so that SON would be linked with other agencies to have one-stop shop.’’
Determined to protect and promote the investments of genuine local manufacturers, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has disclosed that it would soon roll out product authentication scheme in order to grow local production.
Similarly, the Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim, said the priority of the standards body was to protect local and genuine manufacturers, noting that the agency has been working relentlessly to find a user-friendly and cost effective way of introducing product marks.
The Director General stated this at an interactive session with council members of MAN in Lagos on Thursday, saying “Our priority is to protect our local industries because these industries have faith and confidence in the Nigerian economy hence, we need to protect their investment. I want to assure you that I am part of you and we support you 100 per cent.
We are trying to find a more user-friendly way of introducing product marks. I feel that we can work together for manufacturers to voluntarily carry product marks while people importing would go through the scheme. That way, if there is an additional cost, it would be on those importing into the country.”
He added, “The advantage is that if the product authentication mark succeeds, local manufacturers would join voluntarily because they have seen the value in it while on the other hand, if we implement it, we will make sure that all imported products go through a certain level of scrutiny. I am appealing to the association for us to work together and find authentic companies, authentic marker to implement in such a way that it will not affect local manufacturers”.