Truckers allege extortion in Onne Port, say agencies ruin ease of doing business strides


By Godwin Egba

From all indication the much celebrated Ease-Of-Doing Business in Onne Port, Rivers State is still a back breaking policy to over 4,000 cargo truck drivers operating in that port axis. Government’s efforts at reducing hassles for businesses seem to be crashing in the sensitive port.

This is because the driver’s daily pain is that they are bugged with unabated extortion by uniform security personnel who come to mount road block or on patrol along the Eleme East-West road coupled with double taxation imposed on them by the Onne host community youth.

Adolphus Ugwu, chairman of Freight and Cargo Union, Onne Port Chapter, disclosed this during an improving safety culture programme for the union members organized by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) lamenting that a driver on delivery trip with containers or cargo who fails to respond to demand for tip made by group of security personnel on the road, the driver receives physical molestation or beating.

The newly elected chairman who exonerated officers of the Nigerian Customs Service Onne from such arbitrary complicity or hand twisting methods also confirmed that the Union maintains a cordial working relationship with Safety Officers of NPA Onne.

Ugwu who described Onne Port hosting the Nigeria’s Oil and Gas dedicated Free Zone as an envious maritime business hub in the sub-saharan region appealed to the Ports Authority to expand the park allocated to the truck union operators, noting that the population of the organized union members is increasing beyond 4,000 with trucks.

He pledged on behalf of the Union that the minimum safety standard would be observed as required by the NPA, stressing that observing safety is critical to their lives and the transport business.

The Onne Port Manager and other stakeholders in their remarks advised the drivers to avoid consumption of alcohol, hard drugs and over speeding to avoid accident that could have multiply effects on their lives, families and the transport business at large.

The Port Manager emphasized, “We recognize you transporters in the ports industry for your critical role and contribution to cargo service delivery, therefore, we need your maximum co-operation with our safety officials for us to maintain the tempo of Ease-of-Doing business culture in the Maritime industry especially in our Onne Port.