Efforts by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to avert the planned strike action by truck drivers scheduled to commence today (Tuesday) met a brick wall, as the leadership of the association failed to shift grounds.
Speaking with SHIPS & PORTS shortly after a closed door meeting with the Executive Secretary of the Council, Hassan Bello, in Lagos on Monday, the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi, confirmed that the planned withdrawal of service has not been called off.
According to him, the association will not rescind its decision until the presidential taskforce controlling traffic in Apapa, headed by Kayode Opeifa, is disbanded.
“The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello invited us for a meeting today (Monday) to appeal to us to rescind our decision to withdraw our services. But we let him understand that we have been complaining over the years and nothing has been done to checkmate all the activities of the task force and to block all the loopholes through which we have been losing our proceeds to government agencies along the access roads to the port.
“We informed him that the only thing that can stop us is for the council to make a pronouncement to disband those that are in charge of passing these trucks because they have overstayed their usefulness. They should be removed. If need be, let the LASTMA and the Ports Authority Police command be in charge because we cannot leave a vacuum. We are not only talking about the problem because we have also come up with our own solution of which we have started demonstrating the system to our people to know,” he said.
The association had on Sunday announced that its members would withdraw their services from the ports in Lagos with effect from today (Tuesday) to protest extortion by security agencies operating on the port access roads.