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ETO: COMTUA issues 21- day ultimatum to  NPA  — demands N10 billion compensation

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Segun Oladipupo

Truck owners under the aegis of Council of Maritime Transport Union’s and Associations (COMTUA) has issued a 21- day ultimatum to  the management of the Nigerian ports Authority (NPA) to address the myriads of problems associated with the Electronic call up system or they withdraw their services.

The group of truck operators also decried the various tactics deployed by the security operatives and officials of the Authority to impoverish members of the council.

As a result, COMTUA is seeking a compensation of N10 billion from the agency for the failure of the system

In a letter to NPA dated 20th April, 2021, COMTUA threatened withdrawal of service or resort to legal option if their demands are not met before due date.

The group sought enabling business environment as they stated that many factors have made trucking business difficult and less profitable over the past few years.

In a.press statement released by the National Organising Secretary,Comrade Adeyunka Aroyewun, the President of the group, Otunba Olaleye Thompson called for a swift response from NPA.

The Association mulled the apparent lack of transparency in the operation of the ETO inspired call up system by the NPA , saying that the management of funds deposited in the wallet of the system puts truckers at the mercy of the officials managing the system and that apparently the cost has risen from N10,000 to N30,000 without any service rendered.

COMTUA alleged that their members with genuine documents are deliberately delayed, while trucks of influential Nigerians are given priority and easy passage to and from the Ports.

Furthermore, the association frowned at the active connivance of officials of the NPA in granting priority attention to some truckers at the detriment of those with genuine documents and getting their trucks to move in and out of the Ports at night with little consideration for laid down procedures.

The Association further  alleged that, the Senior Special Adviser on CBD to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Shola Giwa is among the officials who passes priority trucks for between N100,000 to N180,000 per truck. He noted that a petition has been filed to the Governor’s office against the SSA.

The truckers lamented the high rate of extortion being perpetrated by the officials of the Truck Call up system, saying ”The incidents of extortion rings along the Ports corridors coupled with all the illegal checkpoints/toll gates mounted at various points is milking truckers their hard earn cash”.

“The case of demanding for as much as N200,000 from truckers before empty containers are deposited at holding bays is one that has also drawn the ire of the association.

“Just as hoodlums have constituted themselves into traffic managers. For example, “the ECOMOG boys around the Mile 2 area who are forcefully selling Lagos state bus ticket to truckers at N200 per truck at about five different locations and other avenues of extortion of money from members are also deplored.”
The transport body also condemned the action of the Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA) for harassing truck drivers and the towing of trucks of their members even at the entry points of the holding bays.

COMTUA advises that the government redoubles it efforts towards infrastructural development to aid easy movement of vehicles and other road users as it tasks the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) to jettison the imposition of the safety sticker through the ETO software as it only serves a financial interest and addresses no real safety concerns.

“Again, the action of issuing safety stickers is subjudice as the NPA will be acting in contempt of court, while issuing this sticker.”

The Association noted that in the two weeks that the ETO application was shut down, the N30,000 members paid amounted to a loss of an estimated N225,000,000 over the period.

“And again the arbitrary increase either formally or informally of the payable fee from N10,000 to N30,000 and all the ETO induced demurrage over the seven weeks of operation amounted to members loosing an estimated N5b in monetary value.
The Association however made a fourteen point demand to the government, some of which are: That NPA/ETO should pay a compensation to the tune of N10b to the association for the losses incurred by members, for the suspension and enforcement on members trucks that were impounded along the Port corridors.
Suspension of the safety/administrative stickers, reduction of the cost of application through ETO to a maximum of N2,000 only and the cancellation of the ETO demurrage or at most charge a renewal fee of N500 per truck for delay in the usage of issued tickets.

Others are immediate dismantling of all road blocks and the urgent prosecution of all erring persons adding uncertainty and chaos within the system among others.

© 2021, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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