…Vows to work to sustain the system
A chieftain of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa Mohammed has blamed the persistent traffic along the Tincan – Mile 2 road even with the introduction of the electronic call up system on the activities of the construction company handling the reconstruction of the road.
Mohammed who made this observation in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos on Friday said that the system has recorded a tremendous success in Apapa whereas Tincan island road has refused to embrace the sweeping change even as he described the road as a peculiar area.
Speaking on the persistent of the gridlock in the area, he said, “the construction company, we don’t know what is his interest in delaying the ongoing road reconstruction. When you are going through Tincan, you will see all the places that the construction company has barricaded for truck not to access and at the same time, it is the contractor, aided by some other people that determine when the trucks will come.
“I believe that it is so because they are beneficiaries of the old system and as far as this road reconstruction is ongoing, you will continue to see some teething problem within that area. But I believe that in the nearest future because as far as they are working towards that, the place will be cleared.”
Mohammed who is also the former Vice Chairman, Dry Cargo Section, NARTO, Lagos State who spoke glowingly of the e-call up system, while appreciating the initiators of the project said, “I will say we are making progress on daily basis in the exercise.”
He continued, “Don’t forget that anything you are starting, from the beginning, there must be some teething problem, knowing full well that some of the drivers and the truck owners are not conversant with technology but with time, it will be a thing of the past. It is just like when they introduced ATM, you recalled that people were not willing to collect their ATM cards but today people are happy going to collect ATM cards and they are operating it everywhere successfully. So, I believe in the nearest future, it is going to be smooth and everybody is going to adapt to it.”
On initial challenges encountered at the inception of the project, he pointed out that some group of people were coming to fraudulently extort money from drivers by giving them fake call up papers as some of them were not conversant with technology even as he added that, “even if it is a photocopied paper that you give the driver, provided that you typed his truck number, he will think that it is genuine call up.”
On what NARTO was doing to assist in the sustenance of the project, he said, “my own organization, seeing that we have members cut across the 36 states of the federation including Abuja and we have members in every state who are coming to bring export and on returning, they go with import. We have received a lot of complains within our members and we have discussed with our zonal chairman who assured us that it is going to be smooth.
“As I am speaking with you, our national body is trying to coordinate all our members, we have some of our garages where those of our members who come from the north do park and we are trying to coordinate to see how we can assist them because ours is to protect their interest and also to support the project because when we see the project, even the drivers are happy because they believe that they would go and park in the various garages where they will have rest and sleep unlike before where they park along the access roads, Area boys are chasing them, they cannot sleep and touts are extorting them. But now, they can sleep. Even when they know that they don’t have anything to do in the port, they can go and see their families.
“So, our national secretariat is on top of the matter. We are trying to see, even in some of our garages, we have adopted IT team, even this morning, we just had a training to train our IT team on how to process the call up papers so as to protect the interest of our members.”
On the alleged extra charge of forty-three thousand naira (N43,000) outside the registration fee of ten thousand naira charged by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Alhaji Mohammed stated, “to me, all that they are saying is not an issue as of now. Yes, NPA said ten thousand but don’t forget that the trucks are going to go through other parks before accessing the port. The other parks may have small charges for their facilities that the truck drivers used and to my understanding, all the charge is not more fifteen thousand naira (N15,000) to sixteen thousand naira (16,000).
Don’t forget that before now, before you access the port, you spend up to one fifty thousand (N50,000) to two hundred thousand naira (N200,000) even up to two hundred and fifty thousand naira (N250,000). So, if now I can pay between ten thousand naira (N10,000) and fifteen thousand naira (15,000) to access the port, I don’t have any issue with that. For instance, there are approved garages; you will enter those garages before you access the port. When you enter those garages to park, you will have to pay them for the services they rendered to you. While some may charge five thousand naira (N5,000), others may charge ten thousand naira (N10,000), it depends on the number of days you stayed and the facilities that you used during your stay.
“So, I don’t see that as an issue, all we want is for this e-call up to be sustained and we will do everything we can to see that this call up system is sustained. That is why we tried to organize our members so that they will not fall victim to fraudster.”
Photo: NARTO Chieftain, Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa Mohammed.
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