Truck drivers operating at the nation's seaports have threatened to shut down activities indefinitely following allegations of extortion by security agencies detailed to control traffic in Apapa.
Speaking with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos yesterday, Chairman of Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMARTO); Chief RemI Ogungbemi said that the truckers are consulting and mobilising members to ensure the strike is total.
The decision to go on strike was taken at a meeting of all truckers held last Saturday in Ijora, Lagos.
The AMARTO Chairman stated that "consultations are currently ongoing on when the strike would kick off"
Also speaking at a recent meeting in Lagos, Vice Chairman, dry cargo section of NARTO, Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa, said the meeting by the truckers was aimed at bringing all haulage operators in the maritime industry together.
He said the truckers who have been pushed to the wall as a result of what they are passing through in the hands of security agencies could no longer bear the situation any longer.
He noted that truckers are ready to go to any length to fight the ugly development, including shutting down the port if the need arises.
Speaking further, the NARTO Chieftain who represented the association at the meeting, explained that it “was an urgent one that was organised by truck owners under various unions and associations based on the pains that the truckers are passing through.
“The truckers have been pushed to the wall, they have no option that is why they came for this meeting and thinking of taking some certain decisions.
” Is all about accessibility of trucks to go into the port. Trucks in some places spend up to ten days or two weeks before accessing the port and multiple extortion by various security agencies.
“At the end of the day, if you look at the transport fare that you charge, you will go back with nothing and as a matter of fact, the truck owners cannot be able to fix their trucks or able to pay their children’s school fees. Let alone our drivers who stay on the road for days without seeing their families or take proper bath”
The next line of action,according to Inuwa is that the operators would consult with their respective national leaders and deliver the message to them.
He added that” This will determine what to do because NARTO is already in collaboration with MWUN, RTEAN, NURTW heavy duty section and other associations,” Inuwa stated.
On his part, the AMARTO Chairman, Ogungbemi said there is high level of extortion among these officers, but blamed the drivers who willingly offer them to get into the port faster.