Kayode Opeifa, former Govt Vice Chairman, Presidential Process Workforce on the Restoration of Regulation and Order in Apapa (PTT-RLO), is satisfied that the Process Workforce has helped to wipe away an enormous nationwide disgrace. Opeifa, who not too long ago bagged a Doctorate Diploma (Ph.D) in Transportation and Logistics Administration from the Lagos State College Faculty of Transportation (LASU-SoT), assured that Apapa would by no means slip again to an period of infamy if all stakeholders are able to do what is true and the regulators prepared to implement the legal guidelines with out worry or favour. He spoke with ADEYINKA ADERIBIGBE and MUYIWA LUCAS
About 20 months in the past, the presidency established the duty crew to revive legislation and order at Apapa. How will you describe the journey within the final 20 months?
Let me begin by saying that the duty crew was meant to be an ad-hoc answer supplier to restoring legislation and order to Apapa, pending the actualisation of many different points, starting from rehabilitation of roads, improved port operations which incorporates the introduction of digital name up system; introduction of scanners for cargo clearance and so many different issues which are ports associated which have been recognized by stakeholders over a protracted time frame. Additionally notice that the duty power which we modified to process crew was as a result of we believed the Apapa site visitors administration scenario doesn’t want a “process power”, however a crew, to revive legislation and order. We got here in on Might 22, and by the tip of August 2019, we had achieved all our meant functions. It took us 60 days to revive legislation and order each on Apapa Wharf Highway, the Lagos Badagry Specific highway, from Iganmu right down to Mile 2 and Mile 2 right down to Tin can gate, Tin can gate right down to Apapa port gate and Apapa Port gate right down to Eko Bridge, which is the Maritime logistics loop. We restored legislation and order inside the first two months and by finish of August, we had achieved all different issues we’re to do.
So why did you keep for 20 months once you had accomplished all you needed to do in Apapa?
We weren’t allowed to depart. The preliminary time we got was two weeks, which was later prolonged to 2 months and later prolonged to till the federal government felts it was time for us to depart. That’s to let you know that the federal government too was snug with the reviews of our actions at Apapa. Additionally by June 11, 2019, we introduced an interim report which was accepted by all stakeholders current – made up of terminal operators, delivery strains, manufacturing firms, truckers, residents, GRA residents have been represented by their leaders, the media, the Police, the CG Customs was represented, FRSC Corps Marshal, all people was there. All of them agreed that the face of Apapa is altering. Once more, in August 2019, we introduced one other report which we termed exit, however we weren’t allowed to exit, we have been requested to attend till a time all stakeholders are able to take possession. That was earlier than Lagos State authorities appointed new executives. Nonetheless, we additionally introduced one other report on November 15, the place all stakeholders have been once more current and that was the place we reported that stakeholders weren’t taking possession. Our system as designed, labored completely from Might to the center of October when some stakeholders motivated by corruption combat again and a few pursuits began accusing us of depriving them of their technique of livelihood and they’d not enable us to work past December. That was once you began seeing tales of extortion, tales of encroaching on port operations, we’ve overstayed our tenure, and so on. Down the lane, from January, February final yr, we’re alleged to have successfully palms off, there was excessive engagement involving the Lagos State Authorities at the moment, however there got here COVID-19 and the lockdown. On October 7, a remaining report was requested. Earlier on August 12, there was a gathering of all of the principal stakeholders the place the Vice President, prof Yemi Osinbajo was current to chair the assembly, the Minister for Transportation Mr Rotimi Amaechi was there, the Minister for Works, Mr Babatunde Fashola, MD NPA, Govt Secretary Nigeria Shippers Council, CG Customs, FRSC Corps Marshal, Deputy Chief of Employees to the President, SSA Media to the President, and Secretary to NPEDEC have been all current and we introduced a report the place we known as the eye of the federal authorities that the stakeholders have been not cooperating and reiterated the pressing want for all of the stakeholders to take possession, that we wish to go away. That was when the difficulty of unregulated barging on Marina was mentioned and the minister for Transport and the governor of Lagos have been mandated to look into it and ultimately, we noticed that they each got here out and had that place cleaned up. As at that second, Lillypond was not in operation, the nominated parks have been not in use and the decision up system was not being adopted and we felt these will not be inside our purview. We’re to design and deploy a logistics masterplan, we’ve carried out that, it’s left for many who are alleged to handle to step up their recreation. On October 7, we represented an exit report which was initially introduced in August, and it was accepted and we have been requested handy over to the Lagos State Authorities as requested by our report. That operation commenced on November 8 and we concluded on December 29.
Will you say you might be happy with the work the duty crew did?
Actually! We restored legislation and order on all roads the place we’re alleged to take away stationary vehicles, as I’m chatting with you, I can say categorically, there aren’t any stationary vehicles on any roads in and round Apapa or on all roads resulting in the ports, besides these occasioned by the development of the highway, alongside Mile 2 and Dawn. Additionally, we developed and deployed a site visitors administration system which might take away any gridlock or any congestion inside two hours, even when there may be main rescue, no more than six hours. That’s considered one of our mandates. The third is the empty container return dealing with coverage. We developed one, working with NPA, who has that accountability to do it, and that we’ve handed over and that’s what require that each one delivery strains, have to be those to obtain containers at their holding bays, that people mustn’t deliver containers to the ports however to the holding bays, and as soon as they take it to the holding bay, the demurrage on it should cease opposite to what’s presently working the place people are nonetheless bringing containers to the ports and they’re made to paying N20,000 from N14,000 to delivery strains a scenario which is sort of a double jeopardy. They lose their deposit, in addition they pay a penalty. These are all that we have been requested to do and we’ve delivered on them and once we introduced our report, all stakeholders acknowledged and counseled the efforts. That was as at October 7, 2020. I’ve drone footage of Apapa as at October 2, 2020 to point out you the scenario has been introduced beneath management, though Lillypond was not in operation from April 2020, though digital name up system that was to be launched by NPA since August 2020 is but to be deployed, although we learnt that it has now been procured and we should commend NPA and urge them to start out the introduction any second from now. Regardless that the nominated parks the place we’ve saved the vehicles to remain off the roads have been not getting used, though site visitors on the Third Mainland Bridge was diverted, to Eko Bridge which was a serious logistics hall, though Marine Bridge was closed down for over months, though the Lagos Badagry Expressway development started and continues to be ongoing, we maintained legislation and order and we ensured that there was no gridlock. I wish to say that we’ve delivered on our mandate to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
How has the difficulty of corruption combat again impacted on the graceful operation and restoration of legislation and order in Apapa?
Previous to the project, throughout my tenure as Particular Adviser to the federal government on Transportation beneath Governor Babatunde Fashola, and likewise as a former Commissioner in Lagos state, the issue we used to have then have been the tankers particularly every time there was going to be gas shortage. This pressured the federal government to declare a state of emergency and between 2011 and 2013, we have been capable of remedy all points regarding Apapa and between NPA, NNPC, PPMC, loads of enhancements have been carried out. There was calm in Apapa up till 2016, when a LASTMA officer was stoned to loss of life. After that incident, legislation and order broke down, no one was manning the roads and managing the site visitors and the truck menace got here. This was what introduced within the concern of extortion. Individuals began paying to get entry into the ports, the Navy got here within the Police and all manners of the Process Pressure have been shaped to resolve the issue. So we are able to safely say that extortion fuelled the site visitors administration disaster in Apapa. Although removing of extortion was not a part of our mandate, however primarily based on our earlier research of Apapa, we included it that we should take away the prospect for extortion – how, by restoring legislation and order, removing of all parking vehicles across the port, preserve all vehicles at nominated parks, make name up system that’s clear and that’s dependable and make sure that Lillypond works so that there’s a transit park from the place vehicles are known as as much as proceed to the port. Be certain that vehicles coming from exterior Lagos have a spot they’ll keep as soon as they arrive inside Lagos, and likewise make sure that it’s first come first served. We achieved this completely inside two months and all stakeholders agreed to the rules as of Might twenty fifth, the assembly was held at LMC, contained in the port. The place all of the port managers, site visitors managers, delivery firms, terminal operators, all truckers have been current, that assembly adopted our site visitors administration course of with minor changes. The issue was containerised vehicles returning. In the event that they don’t get into the ports inside sure days they pay between N14, 000 to N20,000, so they might somewhat pay cash to anyone to get them into the port. When you give them a system that assures them that they might not be fined for lateness, sanity could be restored, so we put this up. The site visitors used to get to Maryland on Ikorodu highway, it used to get to Oshodi on Oshodi-Apapa highway, and it used to get to Mile 2 on the Badagry axis. Inside two months we took that out all people was blissful and the prospect for extortion was utterly knocked out. Nonetheless those that are benefiting from the extortion couldn’t comprise it, they got here to us to loosen up the system, we refused, in order that they resorted to blackmail and to do that they approached the media and began accusing us of amassing cash. In truth they even stated the pinnacle of the enforcement crew has a financial institution in Yaba, the place they have been making N300 million a day. That was the lie they have been peddling and the media fell for it and I went forward to problem the media, I urged them to cease reporting false tales. I requested them to inform those that are feeding them these tales to deliver proof, none got here up with any. It’s going to curiosity you to know that these corruption combat again folks do not need vehicles. They’re center males. These persons are recognized folks. They claimed to be house owners of vehicles, they claimed to be members of truck house owners’ organisations however they don’t have vehicles, they misinform the media by pretending to the media that they’re involved stakeholders and they’re going to present ardour. You may affirm this in the event you discuss to the genuine truckers. The Presidential Process Workforce (PTT) doesn’t management the decision up system, we solely developed it and it’s hinged upon Lillypond and the nominated parks that are beneath the management of the NPA. So how they discover their means, I don’t know however the first six months all the things labored completely, however after that there was a combat when the Lagos State Process Pressure got here to clear and take possession of the place, they have been attacked, and within the strategy of repelling the assault, a number of the hoodlums bumped into Lillypond and within the course of any individual died. The actions at Lillypond was subsequently scaled down, as a result of the NPA needed to examine and all that, so issues slowed down, however by December, the stakeholders assembly was known as once more, we initiated it with the Shippers Council and the stakeholders agreed that Lillypond should return to operation, by April once more, Lillypond stopped working and we have been informed that NPA has handed Lillypond over to the digital name up concessionaire. Although it was improvement, I don’t suppose they need to have utterly shut the place down. Till the digital comes up the guide should be allowed to proceed to work as a result of it’s working. Though there may be additionally the rail development which can also be passing by means of Lillypond so there are such a lot of points actually, however I consider that Lillypond and the nominated parks ought to have been allowed to proceed operation. All these have been on account of these behind the corruption at Apapa. They saved writing petitions to all people that their points will not be being attended and you realize it’s pure for any accountable organisation to wish to examine, this slows down the site visitors administration system. It was at this level that I reported again to the Presidency that the PTT was not having fun with the boldness and cooperation of stakeholders and that it’s higher we have been dissolved.
Are there particular examples to assist your claims on corruption claims sir?
In fact! I’ve had alternatives to interact them, they’ve additionally maligned my individual, however we remained centered. This corruption combat again can also be answerable for all of the damaging tales popping out of Apapa. Earlier than COVID 19, there was no single drawback with any highway coming into Tincan port. However these folks got here once more to say some persons are making an enormous sum of money. Let me share an instance, a member of the Home of Representatives knowledgeable me that the police took N2 million from his Supervisor. We acquired the supervisor and once I confronted him with the pinnacle of the export group, Mr. Bunmi Olumekan, the person stated he paid N200,000 per container to a policeman from the duty crew who facilitated the deal.
However once I requested additional, the person stated he didn’t pay any policeman. Relatively, he stated he purchased a move from a member of the export group. You see, this move is given free, however you pay the union dues to the export group, which the PTT will not be concerned with or in assist of, although I’m not towards the unions amassing their dues. This man ultimately confirmed that it was as a result of he couldn’t get that move that he went and acquired from any individual who had the move and acquired for N200,000 every and there was no policeman concerned. I do know of a kind of individuals who I used to be informed collected 10 tickets and disposed of it for N150,000 every. The tickets encourage corruption, however like I stated PTT is just not in cost. They’re combating us again as a result of when legislation and order is restored, they can’t survive.
There are additionally extortionists who exaggerate the scenario simply to get a little bit extra from the fleet house owners and employers. However behind all these, what I found is that extortion is a matter of demand and provide and it’s speculative.
Instantly after EndSARS, value of shifting containers jumped to N1.4 million however when shipper’s council moved into Tincan to look into the difficulty, they found that costs began falling instantly, as at this morning, it has dropped to N800,000. These persons are not unknown to the stakeholders. As a process crew, we’ve reported these we are able to report. Every stakeholder is aware of who they’re. You’ve got people who find themselves not alleged to be within the port space working within the hall, we’ve eliminated and reported them, however the stakeholders have to be decided to stamp them out.