...The Money Is For Office Maintenance --- Union
There was tension in Apapa yesterday as truck drivers and truck union under the auspices of the Council for Maritime Truck Owners and Associations (COMTUA) clashed over what the drivers alleged as extortion. Speaking with Shipping Position Daily during the clash at Eleganza roundabout, Apapa, Lagos, a truck driver, Mr. Solomon Agbalo, lamented that they were being asked to pay a compulsory sum of N3000 by the association, before they can be allowed to go into the ports. "They are asking us to pay N3000 on each truck before you will be allowed to go into the ports. They didn't inform us before, all of a sudden they just blocked us here asking for the money" Also speaking another driver who gave his name as Sule Dauda, told our correspondent that this is pure extortion coming from their unions. "After all the stress on the road to this place, they will block you because you failed to bring N3000, it’s not fair at all. They have not done anything to improve the welfare of the drivers, all they are asking for is the money" Meanwhile reacting to the allegation,, the Head of Operations of COMTUA, Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa, said the money is for the maintenance of the association. He also said that they are not having any issue with the drivers. "We are here to monitor and see how things are going, some of them will go and lie to their managers and escalate that they are being extorted, that is why we are here to monitor them" "They will inflate the prices in everything and they are not comfortable with our presence here, that's why they are trying to cause confusion. The N3000 we asked is for the running and maintenance of the association's secretariat" he said. Inuwa, however said that the union will try all it can to stop them from thwarting the effort of the union. According to him, "We know them, they are trying by all means to destroy all our efforts here and we are equal to the task, we won't allow them to do that" "We at COMTUA asked all our members to pay a token of N3000 which will be receipted. But they don't want us here so that they will continue to manipulate and extort their owners under false information" he concluded.