Activities at the Tin Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC) were partially paralysed yesterday when truck drivers withdrew their services to protest incessant harassment by security agencies especially officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).
Some of the truck drivers said that they were compelled to embark on the service withdrawal action because operatives of the LASTMA towed away their trucks on Friday night.
“The situation is becoming unbearable for the truck drivers. The security agencies are making life difficult for them because just on Friday night, LASTMA stormed the port and towed away several trucks. There is no provision made in the current port arrangement for the trucks to park or use as holding bay. Besides, all the trucks cannot go into the terminal at the same time otherwise the terminals will be blocked. But the truck drivers are being as if they are a nuisance to the port whereas our operation is critical at the port. Without the trucks, no goods can be evacuated from the port and that is why we are calling on government to support our arrangement to provide truck parks for our members,” said Chairman of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi.
Ogungbemi said that the truck drivers resumed partial operation but noted that most of the drivers could not go back to work “because their trucks have been towed away by LASTMA.”
Some of the truck drivers who spoke with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY lamented the harrowing experiences they go through daily in the course of performing their duties.
“Na inside the truck we go sleep for like three days because we no fit enter the port. The roads are very bad and we no fit do more than one trip a day. Even sef the one trip is very difficult. Police, Navy, LASTMA, even Army and LASTMA and Road Safety will collect all the money from us. Still they will come here and tow our trucks. They treat us like animals,” lamented Haliru, one of the truck drivers at the TCIPC.
The service withdrawal mostly affected the Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT).