Truckers vow to continue protest over fraud associated with e-call up

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…As NARTO chieftains says action to early

The last is yet to be heard of the three days protest engaged upon by the members of the Tincan Island Port Transport Operators (TIPTO) to protest some man made challenges faced by the truckers along the Tincan – Mile 2 axis as members of the group have vowed to continue the protest until government accedes to their demands.

A member of the group and former Chairman of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Tincan Island Chapel, Alhaji Isiaka Olalere told our correspondent in an interview in Lagos that there was no going back on the protest as it would now be a continuous exercise until all their demands were met by those concerned.

Speaking on the said challenges faced by members, Olalere observed that a flatbed without empty container coming with call up and Authority to Load (ATL), was supposed to be allowed into the port any time, any day but regretted that that was not the case especially on Mile 2 – Tincan axis.

He noted that truck drivers would spend hours at Fatgbems Filling Station at Mile 2 before they would be able to cross the area and on getting to auto wharf junction, if one does not have somebody who is known there to take him across, such a truck would be turned back.

“My vehicle was turned back three times with call up paper. But it was that same call up paper that I used to go and pass through Ijora and I went through Ijora and come to Tincan without any hindrance. I followed the motor by myself. It is not like that in Tincan – Mile 2 axis. Something must be done about that axis as a matter of urgency. The people in government should go there and investigate what I am saying.

“Come to Sunrise here, they used barricade to block all the road, they open it any time they want and they close it any time they want. You cannot go, before you talk too much, they will start beating the driver. It is like that in Mile 2 – Tincan axis but not so on Apapa area. You are coming from Ijora, there are so many beats there, they will check your documents to know whether your e-call up is genuine. If it is genuine alongside your ATL, they will just tell you to go. They don’t demand anything from you but if you are happy, on your own, you can give them one thousand naira.

“But it is not like that here (Tincan – Mile 2 axis), with your call up, you are going to spend up to one hundred thousand naira (N100,000) or they will turn your vehicle. They turned my vehicle three times”, he explained.

He however pointed out that the e-call up system is a welcomed development and that they all love it adding that “If we are to implement it fully, it is going to help all of us but the way it is going now, it is fraudulent and this is why we are calling the attention of government.”

Meanwhile, a chieftain of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa Mohammed has faulted the protest embarked upon by the members of TIPTO arguing that the action came too early and unexpected at this time.

Mohammed who stated this in a chat with our correspondent believed that in any innovation, there must be some teething problem.

According to him, “I agreed with some of the challenges that they raised which we are facing along this (Tincan – Mile 2 ) axis because in my interview with you earlier on the call up system, I told you how the shipping companies that are not having functional holding bay is contributing to this. If you are carrying empty container, before they will receive it, they will collect huge amount of money.

“Some collect one hundred and thirty thousand naira, some one hundred and fifty thousand naira while some others will collect one hundred and eighty thousand naira depending on shipping line before receiving the empty containers. This is something we believe that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council and NPA have to come together and make sure that all the shipping companies comply with what is demanded of them.

“We have asked all the truckers to go to the various garages which they have complied and we wished that the shipping lines also should comply by having a functional holding bay for receiving their empty container without asking for money from the truck drivers.”

While insisting that he did not agree with the position of the members of TIPTO that the e-call up was a failure, he however maintained that he saw the e-call up system as a solution to the problems facing truckers for some years now along Apapa and its environs.

“I believe that the truckers should come and collaborate with the authority as we are the ones that will guide them by providing information to them about where these extortions are taking place for the authorities to come and ensure that it is discontinued. But where the authorities, after hearing the complaints and chose to do nothing, that is another issue altogether. So, we wish that they tackle all the complaints promptly by ensuring that action is taken immediately to address the situation. That is the only way we can get a successful e- call up system because a situation where some people are trying to sabotage the system is not a welcome idea.

“We are in support of the e-call up and I believe with that system, whenever my truck has gone to load, I will have a rest of mind without waiting to hear bad news. Unlike in the past when your driver or your manager will give you a call before they enter the port or even when they are inside the port complaining of numerous extortions going on which most times, if it persist, they may need your attention at the port. So, I think with the e-call up, I can go and sleep and the driver will also know that he will have easy access to the port in few hours.

“However, from this Mile 2 axis, that is where we want the authorities to focus on because are we talking of the construction company that will barricade the road and come with some group of people and determine when truck will pass even when you are with the e-call up?”, he submitted.

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