Irate truck drivers have attacked the secretariat of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO) destroying valuable properties and threatening the life of the Chairman, Chief Remi Ogungbemi.
In a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos yesterday, Chief Ogungbemi cried out that the truckers have issued threats to mob him very soon, especially at any of the meetings he is attending.
According to him, the trucks had stormed the secretariat of AMARTO and destroyed some association properties as well as some of his personal properties. He however attributed the attack and protests to the handiwork of his distractors.
Speaking, he said “I don’t know what my offence is, they accused me of compromising with the Nigerian Navy and the NPA to begin the call-up system, can you imagine that? They are bundle of ingrates”
“I am not taking the threats lightly; they accused me of taking money from AP Moller, NPA, and Lagos State Government”
“There was a protest last week, they came to my office, scattered everywhere and damaged so many properties” he said.
The AMARTO Chairman also said that he has decided to start withdrawing tactically and leave the truck drivers to their fate because all his efforts are not being appreciated; he said “I would stop involving myself in any truckers’ activities because instead of being appreciated, I am being insulted”
In one of the text messages which he claimed to have received from one of the members which he later forwarded to Shipping Position Daily, the truckers warned him thus: “Chief good morning, please avoid meetings now, there are plans to mob you by truckers in meeting venues. Truckers are not happy with you at all and its a risk for you to attend any meeting now if you take my advice”
He described the attack as a rivalry from distractors.
“Two weeks ago, NPA came to the hall to sensitize truckers on minimum standard for trucks, the hall was packed full and we even had to rent canopy, these were what the detractors are seeing and being envious, they are doing this to divert attention”
“The NPA directive is not convenient for the truckers and this is why they have accused me of being the one that told NPA to do it. The NPA has insisted that before any truck can come into the port, they must be informed; the truckers see this as too tedious”
Ogungbemi assured that meetings have been going on, on how truckers and clearing agents would speak with one voice on the policy rolled out by NPA on the ban on entry of trucks with empty containers