Truck owners under the auspices of Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) at the Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) phase1 in Apapa, on Tuesday embarked on a peaceful protest over a seven-day eviction notice issued to them by management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to vacate the premises.
The eviction notice from NPA, which was sighted by our correspondent reads in part: “All Trespassers of this land are hereby given seven days’ notice from 27th January, 2021 to quit with their possessions. “Defaulters will be prosecuted and properties found will be confiscated”.
However, reacting to the development, members of the association explained that the facility has been given to them by management of the NPA for over a decade.
Speaking at the peaceful protest which held at the complex, Chairman of the Association, KLT chapel, Comrade Peter Eze expressed disappointment over the decision of the NPA on the facility, saying that series of letters were written in time past to develop the holding bay as proposed in the master plan.
Eze informed that former officials of the NPA had given the association the assurances of sustaining the facility adding that the sudden eviction notice came as a shock and surprise to members of the association.
The chairman who lamented the NPA action’s, disclosed that the short notice for truckers to vacate the holding bay without proper consultation with members, does not go down too well with the operators and may likely seek court injunction if not properly managed by the NPA.
According to him, “we will do our best to ensure that we sustain this facility. We have engaged the Chief Estate Officer of NPA and he had assured us that we will manage the place only for us to see the quit notice last week.
“The word Trespassers is what am not comfortable with because we have spent millions of naira to develop this facility and I don’t think it’s proper for NPA to carry out such actions.”
Also speaking, Coordinator of the protest and former Secretary RTEAN KLT Phase 1 Chapel, Comrade Godwin Ikeji lamented that despite several letters written to management of NPA for the association to maintain and upgrade the facility, the NPA chose to evict the truckers from the facility.
Ikeji stated that there must have been some foul play along the line for highest bidder to take possession of the facility.
He added that the issue about garage eviction had been reported to the state union of RTEAN and added that the outcome of a meeting with management of NPA will further determine the action of the association.
“We spent millions of naira to develop this facility, at least on a monthly basis. We told management back then that whatever it will take for us to sustain this facility should be formalized, because we have the monies spent so far the upgrade the place.
”This place used to be swampy and bushy, but with contributions from members overtime, we have been able to develop the place to standard.
“It was our effort to make the garage among one of the enlisted holding bays we have today. We heard also that there is a mega plan to convert this place to a mega garage.
“All our appeals all these years despite our letters have received deaf ears from management of NPA,” he lamented.