Apapa Gridlock: NARTO, AMATO kick against 48hours ultimatum

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… Says Associations were not duly consulted

Oluyinka Onigbinde

The National Association of Roads Transport Owners (NARTO) and the Association of Maritime Trucks Owners (AMATO) have kicked against the recent 48 hour ultimatum given to trucks drivers and operators of articulated vehicles to vacate the port access road, describing it as a fire brigade approach that will lead to nowhere.

Recall that the ultimatum was handed down to trucks drivers and trucks owners on Wednesday by the Nigerian Military and the Lagos State Government as the perennial gridlock in the area completely shut down the access roads for over 24 hours.

But in a recent chat with Nigerian NewsDirect the Chairman General Cargo division of NARTO, Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi Inua, said the Association was not fully consulted before the order was given trucks drivers.

Inua described the ultimatum given to trucks owners and trucks drivers as one not thoroughly thought over, he opined that the ultimatum given to trucks owners  and drivers, should have been given to shippingcompanies who has been jettison the federal government order on the provision of holding bays.

According to him “We are not carried along, we are not duly consulted despite that trucks owners and trucks drivers didn’t deserve the ultimatum.

“It could have been good if this 48 hours ultimatum given to truck driver is given to shipping companies because if they say trucks drivers should vacate the port it simply means they will paralyzed activities in the port and that won’t be good enough for the economy.

“Don’t forget there was a directive given by the vice president on 15 November 2017 that all shipping companies should provide holding bays for their trucks and up till now nothing has been done

“Also in February this year the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman also gave out a directive that all shipping companies must provide a holding bays for their trucks but the shipping companies jettison the management

“And now we the trucks owner and drivers are the one on the receiving end. So instead of clamoring on trucks drivers and trucks owner they should clamor on shipping companies to do the right thing”. He said.

In similar vein the National President of Association of Maritime Trucks Owners, Chief Remi Ogungbemi described the ultimatum given to trucks drivers and trucks owners as a fire brigade approach that will lead to nowhere.

While speaking with our correspondent, the AMATO boss frowns at the lackadaisical attitude of the Nigerian military and the Lagos state government, in issuing a 48 hours ultimatum without consulting the proper body or association monitoring the affairs of the trucks drivers and operators of articulated vehicle.

In his words “We are not consulted at all, before the ultimatum was given, but however when we heard of the ultimatum I made frankly effort to get in touch with the naval commander that gave the order then we have been talking, and I let him understand that that parking on the roads or on the bridges is not in the interest of the trucks owners or drivers.

“Then I took him back the memory lane to let him know the consequences and causes of the outcome that before given such an order there is need for him to convey a critical stakeholders meeting at the instance of Nigerian port Authority, who happens to be the technical regulator of the port”.

Ogungbemi added that given such order will amount to closure of the port.

“Given such an order I believe will amount to closure of the port and closure of the port you know the consequence on the economy as this is not going to be in the best interest of the economy”.

“I agree with him totally that something has to be done, but it is not in the fire brigade approach he is trying to put, even a battalion of soldiers cannot stop the problem without putting the necessary infrastructure in place.

“So number one thing needed for us to stop the perennial gridlock is to introduce a call up system a system that will inform every truck of exact day and time they ought to be in the port. This is how we can achieve sanity and orderliness at the port” he said.

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