…As NAGAFF calls for scrapping of ETO, replacement
Truck drivers operating at Lagos ports, yesterday protested the corruption and extortions surrounding the ETO call up system introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA to usher in trucks to the ports in a seamless manner.
The drivers who protested at Tincan Island Port against the excesses of the concessionaire handling the ETO call up system, Truck Transit Parks, TTP were seen shouting “no more call up” and carrying placards with different inscriptions such as “let the drivers breath because of call up; drivers are not slaves; drivers are dying, owners are dying among others.
They called on the federal government and the NPA to unmask those behind selling the ETO call up ticket to third parties who equally resell them to truck drivers at a price ranging from N130,000 to N170,000.
Addressing the protesting truckers, a leader of the Police team from the Ports Authority Police Command whose identity was not ascertained as at the time of filing this report begged the protesters to maintain the peace while protecting as it was their inalienable right to protest urging them to be orderly in their protest.
He promised to take their complaints back to the authorities particularly the NPA with the aim of getting the attention to their plights.
His words, “We are going back to them, going back to our Oga, going back to NPA to let them know your grievances. Please call the demonstrators to order, let them have a peaceful demonstration. We are going to tell the authorities, we are here to protect you. We don’t know anything about ETO, we don’t know what you are talking about but your grievances, I am going to table it before the authorities. Please maintain and keep the peace.”
Reacting to the protest, the Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF, Engr. Emmanuel Umeadi recalled that ETO was introduced to ease the problems associated with accessing the ports by both the truck drivers and other road user thereby decongesting the road and ensuring orderliness around the port area.
He however, regretted that the novel idea had been bastardized by the enemies of Nigeria who were out to rip off the economy and leave it plundered.
His wordy, “ETO was introduced with the intent that when trucks are coming from the holding bays or coming back with empties to be dropped at the port. NPA, they will have unhindered access to the port. When it was introduced, it was planned in such a way that truckers will have wallets that they will recharge to the tune of an amount between N12,000 and N18,000 depending on the consignment and we have never seen anywhere in the world where people pay to access the port. We have found ourselves in that condition of paying to access the port where the agents and the transporters are paying to carry their consignment out of the port.
“But returning the empties or having access to the port to load another one, for complete two weeks now, we cannot recharge our wallets because TTP has hanged it forcing agents and transporters to get it through a third party at N130,000 for one to access the port.
“We are seeing this as criminality, we are seeing this as an act of sabotage to Tinubu’s government. We are asking the federal government to scrap Eto completely. We have never seen it anywhere in the world where before you enter the port to carry your consignment, you pay to do so.
“And we observed this TTP pays NPA 10% of what they collect and what they collect in one month amounts to millions of naira. We are calling on the federal government to look into it, we are calling on the Shippers’ Council to wade into this matter. Let them come together to reduce the poverty and stress brought upon hapless Nigerians by this development in order to encourage ease of doing business.
“For one month now, one cannot get call up, causing a heavy traffic along the port corridors. Even when transporters are queuing up on the road, the task force will be coming to tow their vehicles away for obstructing free movement on the road, charging them huge amount as penalty which in turn increases the cost of doing business at the port. The President has good intentions to lead Nigeria to the promise land but the sabotage to the government is too much.
“We are calling on all stakeholders in the port to come together to find a lasting solution to this malaise. The federal government should scrap ETO and come up with an alternative to put an end to the suffering and extortions the agents and transporters are going through. TTP is more interested in making money than promoting the ease of doing business in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA could not be reached as at the time of this report as the telephone numbers were not going through.
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