Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Apapa Gridlock: E-Callup Ticket Forgery Uncovered By Lagos Traffic Team


Barely a week and half after Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, commenced the new electronic- Call Up System into the administration of port operations to ease gridlock in the axis, Lagos State Special Traffic Management Enforcement Team, said it has uncovered scandal involving counterfeiting of call up tickets, tagged; “Eto” by truck drivers and owners.

The development, it was learnt was said to be responsible for the initial teething problems experienced in the last one week when the initiative commenced.

Several efforts in the past to tackle the intractable perennial gridlock had failed forcing business owners to relocate to neighbouring countries as well as some residents abandoning their residences and other properties to safe abodes.

Recall that NPA and Lagos State Government, penultimate weekend, disclosed plans to finally commence a three month trial on enforcement and compliance of electronic-Call-Up System from February 27, 2021, as part of measures to ensure free flow of traffic in Apapa access port areas and environs.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Samwo-Olu, and the Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, declared this when the latter led a delegation of NPA management on a courtesy visit to Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

Sanwo-Olu, had recently, constituted Lagos State Special Traffic Management Enforcement Team, saddled with the responsibility of resolving the incessant gridlock that has plagued Apapa and its environs, resulting in untold hardship and huge losses in both National and state internal revenues.

The traffic team is headed by Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Oluwatoyin Fayinka, other members include: the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Central Business Districts, Sola Giwa, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Political Security Intelligence, Ayodeji Laurent, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP. Hakeem Odumosu and General Manager, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Engr. Olajide Oduyoye.

Speaking on the alleged fake call up slip, Fayinka, said, “We are currently investigating some cases where truck drivers were caught with counterfeited e-call up slip in order to by-pass security and officials saddled with the responsibility but we are on top of the situation. We will beat them to their game.

“This was the major factor responsible for the initial confusion on the major road within the first week of commencement of the e-call up system. We are determined to checkmate the illicit act.”
He however, stressed that all hands must be on deck to ensure total sanity and sustenance of the present free flow of traffic in Apapa and environs.
“We will not relent in sustaining this current order in Apapa. The Governor Babajide Snwo-Olu is determined to see an end to Apapa gridlock. We will not allow unscrupulous elements to scuttle the new order.”

He appealed to stakeholders to cooperate with the state government in removing the congestion and remedy the situation.

Fayinka declared that non-compliance on the part of trailer and truck operators would meet the full weight of the law, and therefore, “stakeholders and port operators should comply with the directive in their own interest.”
As part of enforcement, the special adviser said at least about 200 trucks have been impounded over violation of e-call up system and indiscriminate parking on the road.

Operators react

Reacting to the development of counterfeiting the tickets issued by the operator Transit Truck Parks Limited, TTP, in Lilypond, its Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Dayo Adeboye said “the tickets issued are being photocopied.”
Adeboye also said that the photocopied tickets were also being altered with a view to beating the system that is being established to curb extortion and corrupt practices. He however, disclosed that the e-call up ticket has been programmed with a pin-code that cannot be changed or duplicated adding that “this fraudulent act cannot go far.”

Adeboye said:” Yes we discovered that the tickets are being photocopied and altered by truck drivers that want to beat the system.

“There is pin-code that is on every ticket issued by TTP that cannot be altered; each code is unique to a ticket. We had a few of the alterations but we are working on it to resolve it.”
President of the Association of Maritime Trucks Owners, AMATO, Mr. Remi Ogungbemi also confirmed the development and called on the operators of the truck park to be more security conscious of the system.

Ogungbemi however commended the introduction of the system saying, “it is better than what was obtainable before now.”

He explained that the introduction of the system has reduced the extortion, fighting and other vices that were associated with unregulated system of allowing trucks in to the ports.
According to Ogungbemi: “Yes, I heard about the forgery, there are ways to checkmate it, they should put more efforts, they should put more security features that will make it impossible for them to forge.

“In every situation, there must be a way out, no system is perfect, the implementation has started and I am also commending the efforts and I appreciate it no matter the challenges they are facing now.

“I want to say that no matter the challenges we are facing right now, no matter how bad the system is now, what we are passing through presently is far better than where we are coming from because the rate of extortion, exploitation, intimidation, death fatigue and stress has reduced drastically.

“And the amount being expended to pass the trucks has also reduced drastically but my only concern is that the operators should be careful not to allow sycophants to hijack the system from them.

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