Truck Owners Decry Extortion Of Drivers By Security Agents      

The Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO); Chief Remi Ogungbemi, has accused security operatives of turning members of his association into ``ATM machines’’ through incessant extortion.Ogunbgemi told reporters in Lagos that the security agents were in the habit of impounding members’ trucks if their monetary demand was not met.He said that the Customs, Police, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and other ports operatives were always on the trail of cargo-laden trucks to impound them over flimsy excuses.He appealed to shippers and port operatives to save his members from intimidation and detention of their trucks by the operatives.The president said that more often than not, his members’ trucks were being detained on some inadequacies which could not be attributed to the drivers.He said that most of the time, the truck drivers did not know the exact content of the containers.He appealed to the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Shippers’ Council to avail them of pre-shipment documents of containers to save them from carrying contrabands.``The little earnings we are making in the business end up in the hands of the operatives,’’ Ogungbemi said.He also called on the Nigeria Export Promotion Council to avail the truckers with papers on export-bound cargoes to avoid delays in the ports.He regretted that many of the trucks were being detained in the ports on alleged offences that were not committed by the drivers.