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We can liberate ourselves from extortion- Truckers Association

The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) led by its Chairman, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, has advised itself on how members can strategically and lawfully ‘liberate’ themselves from the bondage of some operatives of agencies who extort money from them in the guise of ensuring sanity in their operations.


Onepageafrica reports that members of various truckers associations in port operations have over the years complained about being forced to part with monies by agencies mandated to ensure a free-flow of truck movement in and out of the ports. 
At such times too, there had been protests by the truckers and sometimes violent clashes between the truckers and the authorities.
In a chat early this week, Chief Ogungbemi urged the truckers on the need to consciously begin to pattern their operations to their best benefit suitable as new private managers are set to run the transit parks.
He said: “Most importantly, now that we are entering into another dispensation of  private operators around to manage / control the truck transit parks, I hereby counsel that we rethink to know the area that we’ve got it wrong and take bold footsteps toward making it right this time around, as our destiny is in our hands.
“It is not enough to be saying we parted with so and so amount of money before our trucks could gain access into the transit parks or into the ports. 
“We should start talking to ourselves on the need for us to change our minds toward achieving a cordial working relationship with the management of the transit parks, so that sanity/orderliness can return to our sector in the economy.”
Ogungbemi advised truckers not to make themselves vulnerable for extortion and should also not give inducement to be granted a pass if it is not yet their turn on a queue.
He said: “The fact remain that, no one puts his hand and removes this money, but you bring the money out ourselves and give it to whoever, to gain certain undue advantage.
“Though, I know in most cases we do it out of frustration, even at that, let us start showing resistance to some of the intimidation. Gradually, we would collectively, politely, gently and legitimately liberate ourselves from the shackles and mess we directly or indirectly found ourselves.”
The AMATO chairman called the truckers to have sober reflections and rethink to know how, when and where they got it all wrong and allowed extortion creep in against them.
Choosing to look inwards, Ogungbemi said: “In my opinion, extort started when some of us started open collection of money on the highways in the name of working for Unions and Associations.
“Priorities and shunting started when some of us became inpatient; if our truck is number twenty (20) on the queue, we tactically move and induce the person passing the trucks with money to allow our truck that is number 20 to shunt to be at number one (1).
He noted that all such indecent conducts led to favouritism, preferential treatment, cabals and ultimately preference for the highest bidder.

Ogungbemi’s fears as he pointed out, are that, if the right approach to dealing with the new managers of the truck parks is not pre-planned and driven purposefully, truckers would remain with the same problems they have ever known and faced. 


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