Collins Dike (National Organizing Secretary, COMTUA)
The Lagos state government is to be blamed completely. This is because they allow the activities of thugs and other illegalities in the state without any move to forestall it. Most of these are politically-motivated. The cost of running a business is very high and we find it very difficult to maintain our business. Everyone blames truckers but they don’t care to know how their business is fairing. We have written letters several times but the Government has refused to do anything.. We also have our own issues but the issues around the business is making truck drivers paranoid. They say they check our trucks and give MSS stickers but I can stay in my garage and get these stickers. Yet the government wants us to comply. So who is at fault? When an accident happens they will find a way of pushing the blame on the truckers. Both the state government and by extension, NPA which is the Federal government should be held responsible.
Aloga Ogbogo (National Secretary, NARTO)
Accident is a function of three variables, which include mechanical, human and environmental factors. We expect that no matter how you latch a container on a truck, if it gets into a bad road that has a big ditch, the force of gravity will come into play and the container will definitely fall- off. Also the law enforcement agents and the area boys would want to put the driver to an automatic halt in order to collect money from them and in the course of that, the driver can lose his concentration which can result in an accident. Many of the trucks are over-aged too because Nigerian truck owners cannot afford to buy these trucks.
NPA should ensure they subject the trucks to adequate checks to meet the minimum safety standards. This should be done for both dry and wet cargo trucks. Some of these accidents are also caused by overloading. There should be weighbridges in the ports. These are the important factors to be looked at, to forestall accidents on our roads.
Francis Omotosho (Registrar, NAGAFF Academy)
If you trace the troubleshooting chain of what is causing accidents in Nigeria, we will trace it back to the government. Many of the truck owners don’t have money to buy new trucks. They go to service and revamp abandoned and rickety trucks to start loading containers. The Nigeria Port Authority is not ready to monitor and assess the standard of these vehicles. They still allow them to load containers and once they load, anything could happen.
If the government wants to really sustain and ensure that there are no accidents, they need to provide loans or provide standard trucks for the truckers. If these vehicle assessments are monitored and enforced by the government you cannot go there with rickety vehicles and over 80 percent of truck owners will be out of business because I know they won’t be able to meet up and get the road worthiness certificate. The government should also make sure the road is also vehicle- worthy. The government is to be blamed.
Riliwan Bello (AMATO Chairman)
Our thorough investigation has identified some factors as largely responsible for safety hazards that are causing the falling of container laden trucks on Lagos roads. These include, dodging of Minimum Safety Standard for trucks and poor attitude of some truckers towards regular maintenance of their trucks. Most safety, security/traffic enforcement officers prioritize the extortion of truckers over aggressive implementation of minimum safety standards on the roads. They collect bribes and allow trucks without container twist locks, headlight, side mirrors, neat tail body, good break, good spring, good axle, etc to access the port to carry load and jeopardize the lives of people on the roads.
The Lagos State Government should outlaw, ban, and criminalize the activities of roads/highways hoodlums causing truck accidents and endangering the lives and property of road users’ across the state. Relevant stakeholders including Lagos State Government, NPA, and terminal operators should calibrate their safety enforcement operatives to be more proactive in the enforcement of Minimum Safety Standard on errant truckers to prevent avoidable falling of containers and loss of lives and property on the roads.
Kunle Ajayi (Stakeholder)
First, no truck owner will be happy seeing their trucks falling. Whatever sides we want to apportion blame, I will not blame the truck owners because they are paying an assessment fee and the government is giving us stickers for it. Anytime a truck is not fit, it is the duty of the terminals and shipping company loading to instruct their operators not to load on substandard trucks. If they put that on ground, the risk of the container falling off will be reduced.
Many of the roads are also very bad for the trucks to ply. It is not today that containers have been falling. It is the carelessness of all the agencies that are involved on the road including the shipping line that are loading this truck. There should be an assessment before loading. It might be on the engine or the driver because the truck owner cannot give his truck to a lunatic driver. Those constructing roads should also consider heavy duty vehicles when constructing the roads.
Bala Muhammed (Administrative Secretary, Association of Maritime Truck Owners)
Everybody is culpable. These include the government architecture, truckers, and the regulatory agencies. Ports and Terminals Safety Officers carelessly allow trucks with incomplete container hooks, worn out tyres, bad tail body, bad headlights, and the likes to access, load and leave the ports and terminals to come and cause accidents on the roads. Also some of the truck drivers are usually on drugs or alcohol before embarking on their journey. Lawless hoodlums in their effort to collect money from drivers do remove brake hose of moving trucks leading to brake failure and crashing of trucks with passengers and vehicles.
I would advise the state government to adequately enforce the minimum safety standard of trucks before issuing them clearance. Good roads should also be constructed for the easy plying of articulated vehicles and trucks. Truckers should also ensure that they do not drive while under the influence of alcohol and they should have their valid licenses and certification. They should also ensure they carry out constant mechanical checks and repairs on their trucks.
Taiwo Fatomilola (National PRO AREFFN)
Let me frank with you, the condition of many of the vehicles coming into the ports to load is not good enough. I will blame the Nigerian Ports Authority, because they are the ones that certify these vehicles and they have a department that is supposed to check the conditions of the vehicles coming to load in the ports. They have failed, they are just after money. Also, there should be a room for checkmating the Inspectorate of Vehicle in Lagos, which is issuing documents to these vehicles. All is about bribe. Once you settle them. Both NPA and the State government are indicted.
Engr. Matthew Alalade (Former President, Merchant Navy)
When the government officials see these rickety trucks and deficient driver, they take their eyes off them. Most of the drivers of these trucks are deficient. You will see them taking all these alcoholic drinks in sachets and they drive recklessly, but the government officials don’t checkmate them. If they drink and drive what do you expect. The government agencies don’t check the trucks like they do to other private vehicles. The government should check the standards of the vehicles and not just approve any rickety vehicle on road. The inspectors must step-up their game and also probably create task force among trucking associations to curb the defiant ones.
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