Entry Permit: Truckers set to withdraw services from ports Monday

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Truckers under the aegis of the Coalition of Port Dry Cargo Transport Operators has said that it will withdraw the services of its members from all the ports in the Western Zone on Monday following the resolve of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Western Zone to commence the enforcement of the vehicle registration and standardization.

The Chairman of the Coalition, Abdullahi Mohammed Inuwa who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen in Lagos shortly before their peaceful protest Friday said that the body was withdrawing its services from the ports because of the N10, 000 entry permit fee since they had no problem with the minimum standard as put in place by NPA.

Inuwa who said that they had petitioned the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) over the matter also said that though they had been meeting with NPA Management over the matter since inception of the idea but that nothing meaningful had been achieved.

According to him,” We are here again today because we want to once again have a peaceful procession and again to sensitize our members on the reason why as from Sunday, they will take off their trucks along the port access roads completely.

“We are withdrawing our services completely because of the N10, 000 entry permit. We have accepted the minimum standard. We are withdrawing our service because we are not registered and we are not registering. What they want to do is to enforce and we are not ready to pay that N10, 000 because there is no enabling environment for us to operate.

“Actually, we have been meeting with NPA and there is no headway and as a matter of fact to the extent that we petitioned NPA to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council but up till now, we are still waiting for the response”.

On the claims by NPA Management that the truckers were responsible for the inability of the authority to inaugurate the Anti-Extortion Committee put in place by Management following the inability of the truckers to nominate their representative to the committee, the Coalition Chairman noted that they were disappointed at the calibre of person the General Manager Western Ports, Chief Michael Ajayi adding that he could not be trusted.

“Only this N10, 000, he has given it three names. From the beginning he called it electronic gate sticker, at a meeting we asked them to demonstrate it and let us see how it works; they could not be able to demonstrate. Secondly, he called it standardization and certification assessment fee, we said it is a duplication of fees because that was what VIO (Vehicle Inspection Officers) did for road worthiness and collected N5, 500 for six months, then now he changed it to entry permit”, he said.

On the pledge by the Independent fleet owners to support the exercise, Inuwa alleged that the said independent fleet owners were an arm of the NPA top officials both serving and retired adding that they invested heavily and attached themselves with the fleet owners.

On his part, a Chieftain of the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Sylvester Keshiro advised that NPA should not kill the transport industry as many industries had been killed in Nigeria saying that truckers were employers of labour.

He said,” NPA is a child’s play, day before yesterday, they were going from company to company begging them people to come and register. I am telling you, by Monday, you will see if any vehicle will enter the port because they have not registered any vehicle.

When asked what the Coalition would do if their members defy their withdrawal of service order and carry on with their activities on Monday, he said,“ We are not nuisance, we are all Nigerians and am assuring you that none of our members have registered. They were mentioning fleet operators that have registered, they are with us and we are working together. On Monday you will see it.

Recall that NPA had earlier scheduled March 1, 2016 as the commencement date for enforcing vehicle registration, standardization and entry permit fee for all trucks operating in the Western Ports but was later shifted till Monday 21st of March, 2016 following the said pleas from the truck operators that more time be give them to put their vehicles in order.

It will be recalled that this was the second protest the Coalition of truckers were embarking in three weeks, the first one having taken place on the 3rd March, 2016.

The Coalition of Port Dry Cargo Transport Operators is an amalgamation of different trucking associations operating in the Nigerian Maritime industry namely; the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), National Union of road Transport Workers (NURTW), National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Truck Drivers’ Unit of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and the Truck Terminal Users’ Association (TTUA).

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