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Truck drivers welcome minimum standard enforcement, kick against N10,000 administrative levy

The Association of Maritime Truck Owners(AMATO)
has said that it welcomed the enforcement of the minimum standards for trucks
operating in the ports, in order to rid the operations of rickety trucks
compromising safety.

Chairman of the association, Chief Remi
Ogungbemi in an interview lauded the initiative to begin the enforcement of the
minimum standard required for trucks operating 
in the port.

He said that the Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA)
had in the last three years established the intention to begin the process over
a period of time, in order to give the operators time to take necessary

however, said that the N10,000 administrative fee proposed by the NPA was not
favoured by members of the association, who even accused him of accepting the
proposed fee for his personal interest.

“For your information, text messages have been
going around within the truck owners associations that I had aligned with the
NPA Authority to start exploiting truck owners and agreed with them on this so
that I can be given commission.
“But in the actual fact, the NPA management is
saying ‘enough is enough’ of all these accidents, carnage happening on our
roads, especially where it involves trucks carrying containers.

“They then said that rather than wait for such
incidences to happen, they want to start implementing the minimum standard to
ensure that trucks that are coming in to the ports meet up with certain
standard before such trucks are allowed into the port for business purposes.

“I believe that no journey or money is too much
to spend to ensure safety of life and property. I support any measure that can
reduce carnage on our road,” he said.
According to Ogungbemi, the NPA said each
certified truck would be given a sticker to enable it entry into the port.

He said although the NPA had promised to ensure
truck drivers did not suffer extortions by various groups in Apapa again after
the payment of the administrative fees, the association thought N5,000 or less
could have been preferred.

Responding, the General Manager, Western Ports,
Chief Michael Ajayi, said the administrative fee for the truck certification
process stands, stressing that only certified trucks would be allowed into the
port for business.

He argued that the amount being charged had
nothing to do with claims that the truck owners were made to pay for road
maintenance as their trucks allegedly were damaging the roads within the port
“The certification is important and strategic to
the business the truck owners do. The certification is free, but the
administrative cost is what we are saying they should pay N10,000 per annual
for; an average of N800 monthly.

“Certification is a continuous exercise because
a truck that is good today may not be the same tomorrow.

“We have been repairing the port roads, like
when we repaired the Liverpool road we did not collect money from them, so it
is not because we need money for road repairs around the ports,” Chief Ajayi

Ogungbemi  appeal to the NPA management to consider a
downward review of the fee, suggesting that it could rather turn to its initial
system where trucks paid a certain ‘packing fee’ each day they went to the

The NPA had stated that the minimum standard
being checked would include among other things, valid documents including
driver’s license, functional lights, 
twist-lock, container-hook, good tyres, strong truck bed.

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