•Our office does not belong to NPA, they gave us only N2million ---AMARTO
It is no longer news that the Nigerian Ports Authority recently directed that in other to properly implement the executive order on 24 hours port operations, motor boys are no longer allowed to enter the ports’ premises with their drivers.But reacting to the development, truckers under the aegis of the, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Joint Council Seaport Truckers (JCOST) have called on the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to provide accommodation for their motor boys.Vice Chairman, Dry Cargo (NARTO), Alhaji Inuwa Abdullahi said although the idea for a 24 hours port operation is laudable, without a befitting accommodation for motor boys, the directive might not succeed .He urged the Managing Director of NPA; Hadiza Bala Usman to provide the needed facilities to assist motor boys whose trucks are engaged in the ports.The transporter also said that the operators in the industry have associations and that NPA should try and carry the associations along before making some decisions.He also advised NPA to explain if the facility belongs to AMRTO or not.“The directive by NPA has suffered a major setback due to harassment by police officers to motor boys due to lack of facility. We just want to know if the place has been taken over by NPA or is AMARTO the owner of the facility and if AMARTO is in charge them such directive cannot work considering the fact other unions cannot use facility that belong to a sister association " he stated. In the same vein, the Chairman Joint council for Seaport Truckers (JCOST), Alhaji Kayode Odunowo has called on the NPA to erect its own structure to accommodate motor boys saying that AMARTO secretariat cannot serve as relaxation centre for truck assistants. “It is not possible for NARTO members to go to AMARTO centre and rest, therefore NPA should identify the place that will accommodate us all” he said.According to the Secretary of JCOST; Chief Godwin Ikeji, the location is not suitable for all the motor boys even as he urged the management of NPA and AMARTO executives to define the terms and conditions on the said facility. “The information came as a surprise from NPA to truckers at the meeting because the unions were not carried along. These motor boys are human beings like us so, we should provide accommodation that can take all of them”.Meanwhile reacting to the agitation, the Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners, (AMARTO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi, debunked the rumour that the association’s secretariat was provided by the NPA for motor boys.He said that NPA only assisted them with N2million out of N8million to rent the accommodation. “How can anybody say that this apartment was rented by NPA for motor boys? You must have gathered this information from distracters. The truth of the matter is that we rented this office on our own and we paid for ourselves by ourselves. But along the line, we had a minor financial issue, we begged NPA to support us and they supported us with only N2million out of the N8million that we spent in renting this office. Before the policy on motor boys, we have been accommodating them here in this office. If you have been to our office before, you will testify to that. People who are saying this are distracters” he concluded.