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AMATO, COTOAN move to boost benefits of reconstructed Wharf Road

 … Further ease Lagos ports access roads

Following the recent full reopening of the
reconstructed Wharf Road, certain road haulage operators in the maritime sector
are taking actions to boost the benefits of the vital link to and fro the port
city of Apapa, easing the nagging Lagos ports access roads gridlock

Truckers, under the aegis of the influential
amalgam, the Containerised Truck Owners, coupled by the Association of Maritime
Truck Owners (AMATO) and Container Truck Owners Association of Nigeria
(COTOAN), informed that they are determined to provide efficacious antidote to
eliminate the gridlock totally, not just to help their businesses recover from
the devastation of the gridlock at its zenith, but to also check driver fatigue
and other threats to the health and lives of roadusers, and residents of Apapa
and other locations that had been worst hit by the traffic anomaly. 
The AMATO and COTOAN initiative barred its mind in
a statement after a meeting of its leadership at the weekend in Apapa, Lagos
State, South-West Nigeria. 
The Containerised Truck Owners’ statement signed by
the duo of Chief Remi Ogungbemi and Alhaji Wasiu Oloruntoyin, on behalf of
AMATO and COTOAN, respectively, stated: “In view of the serious challenges
that are militating against the stability and survival of our business as
containerised truck operators in ports, we have, therefore, carefully studied
and identified the root causes of the challenges, which are as follows: 
a. Lack of automation system to regulate/control
movement of trucks that are going into the ports either to pick imported
cargoes, or taking exports into the ports or returning empty containers into
the ports, which informed the reason why almost  all the trucks thronged
along access roads into the ports at the same time; 
b. The condemnable whopping sums of money that are
exchanging hands days and nights between truckers as bribe givers on the one
hand and security operatives or their collecting agents as the receivers of the
bribes at various points along the access roads into the ports, either through
voluntary offers of these bribes by the truckers in order to gain undeserved
advantageous positions on the truck queues lining the roads and bridges, or the
bribes the trucks offer the security operatives or their agents under either
duress as a result of intimidation through verbal or/and physical abuses;
c. Absence of modern and befitting public
terminals, which has seen a large number of truckers without garages parking on
the roads and bridges.  
“However, believing that every problem has
solution or expiry date, we have, therefore, resolved to hold the bull by the
horn to politely, gently, peacefully, and lawfully relate with relevant
authorities to achieve peaceful and enabling working environment.” 
The document noted that the Nigerian Ports
Authority (NPA), as the technical regulator of the ports, had informed
operators that it has approved the manual call-up of trucks as not just a
condition for trucks to access the ports, but also as a method to
regulate/control movement of trucks into the ports. 
“We have, therefore, resolved to imbibe and
test-run the system,” the AMATO-COTOAN initiative stated. 
Appealing to all other truckers to give the call-up
system a trial, the amalgam stated: “All trucks should leave the roads and
wait in their garages until they collect call-up before coming to the
“Let’s endeavour to submit all required
information/documents to facilitate issuance of the call-up. 
“Enough is enough for all the anomalies on the
ports access roads.”
Harping on the matter of extortionists invading the
roads, purportedly collecting membership dues from truckers on behalf of trade
unions or/and associations, the statement went on: “On extortion, as a
matter of fact, it is we truckers that started and encouraged extortion by
bribing our way to make a truck could be number 50 on a queue to shunt to
number one position on the line, or to make our trucks to make illegal runs
against oncoming traffic and displacing those who have the right of way. We
know ourselves in the trucking business, and we know those that initiated the
twin evils of extortion and bribery in the system. Those people also know
“To compound it all, some truckers operating
as members of certain unions, associations or other bodies started collecting
money on the highways under the gaze of security operatives, who subsequently
fell under the temptations of the lure of easy money as human beings with money
needs. We should, therefore, remove the log in our own eyes so that we can see
clearly to remove the specks in the eyes of others. The truth, they say, is
bitter. Let’s do it right.”
The AMATO-COTOAN initiative counselled road haulage
unions/associations and associated bodies to “fashion a better, modern and
acceptable way of funding themselves by doing away with primitive and archaic
ways that are not just breeding hooliganism and thugs, but also denting the
image of our country”. 
The Containerised Truck Owners further advised that truckers
“should endeavour to work towards bringing professionalism to the fore in
their work”. 

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