Truckers under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) have lamented attacks on their drivers by hoodlums who come through the waters with canoe, even as they lauded the move by the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman to bring down the shanties along ports environs and the jetties.
Speaking to Shipping Position Daily, after the quarterly meeting organized by the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, in Lagos last week, the Chairman, Dry Cargo Section, NARTO, Alhaji Abdul Inuwa, said that since the NPA started the quarterly meeting, there have been improvements towards addressing some of the issues raised by the association.
He commended NPA for providing enabling environment for members of the association to go about their normal legitimate businesses, adding that the exercise of clearing the shanties started last week.
“Actually the quarterly meeting by the Managing Director of NPA is something that we have seen that will bring something new that is coming from the Nigerian Ports Authority in terms of providing enabling environment for the ease of doing business. But despite that there are challenges along the line and that is why they have been organizing this quarterly meeting. From the ones we have been seeing all the things we have been talking about they have been taking steps towards achieving them”.
He complained that some of their drivers are normally attacked by the hoodlums who use the waterways; even as he disclosed that the association lost a driver last year to the hoodlums.
“I think it is a welcomed idea because we the truckers we do have challenge in terms of security. So we commend their effort in trying to sanitize the area in terms of clearing the hideout of these hoodlums. In terms of security, now that some of our trucks are on queue with empty containers, at times in the night, hoodlums through the waters will come by canoe to attack our drivers, remove their batteries and siphon their diesels and when they try to pursue them they will run and dive to the water”.
“I remember about a year ago, one of our drivers was stabbed to death with a screw-driver by some hoodlums; that was how the driver died. So if the management of NPA initiates this idea of bringing down the shanties to dislodge these hoodlums it is a good idea to ensure security.
However, we need to come together to ensure that we achieve proper security at the ports. We commend the NPA on their zeal to organize this quarterly meeting”, he added.
He advised the Navy that the issuance of the call up card is the responsibility of the terminal operators and NPA.
“On the issuance of the call up system by the Navy, we made them to understand that it is not the duty of the Navy to issue call up cards, because they do not know the vessel that needs truck at that particular time. So we made them to understand that and the Commodore explained why they started and that he know it is the duty of the terminal operator and NPA and anything they are ready he is willing to handover”, he concluded.