HeadlinesTransport Truck owners accuse LASTMA officials of extortion, others By maritimemag June 3, 2022 ShareTweet 0 Abiola Seun Truck owners operating at the nation’s seaports have supported the Nigeria Ports Authority’s (NPA), decision to unbundle the electronic call-up system, also known as, ETO, saying it will arrest inefficiency, extortion and lawlessness on the port access road. Speaking under the aegis of Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA), the president of the association, Prince Adeyinka Aroyewun, said they have created an alternative app to rival the ETO system. According to him, his members have been yearning for unbundling, saying the computerized application is robust in scope, backed by a demonstrable effectiveness that is second to none in the business. He said, “it is on record that as part of our collective efforts to rid our strategic maritime sector of these social tumors, we already developed an alternative computerized application which is robust in scope and backed by a demonstrable effectiveness that is second to none in the business.” “As seasoned truckers with a long history of enviable performance, it is our hope that in spearheading this unbundling exercise, the apex Ports Management, whose core responsibility is in the complex area of Cargo Handling, would also place adequate priority on the need to promote and support all workable initiatives, such as the one developed by our great union, as briefly highlighted at this open conference.” “When this is done in a timely manner, Nigerians and all those who are doing business in the Maritime Industry shall begin to witness the groundswell of unsolicited commendations and merited encomiums being showered upon the NPA management for these very brilliant and impactful accomplishments.” “We in COMTUA, are strongly in support of this initiative. Our members across board, have been yearning for this decision which is bound to arrest the lingering menace of inefficiency, extortionist practices and the burgeoning lawlessness in our Maritime industry.” The COMTUA President, however, accused the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) officials of extorting truck drivers while fixing their trucks. According to him, appeal to the state government to end extortion and other vices on the port access road have proved abortive. “We need to talk about our law abiding members and the overzealous LASTMA officials of Lagos State government. We hardly need to restate here the pains that motorists of all hues go through in the hands of LASTMA officers whose culture of extortion has been rampant and is now bordering on gross impunity. “These category of road managers have become so emboldened by the blind eyes that the Lagos State government usually take, in handling all public complaints labeled against them, such that, they had become uncontrollable in the indiscretions they exercise while performing some basic official duties.” “It is a known fact, that ordinary civil cases involving drivers, such as packing by the roadside to re-fix a depleted tyre always resulted into arrest, towing and detention of such vehicles and a punitive fine of not less than N100,000. These extortionist charges are being cruelly imposed without any consideration of the affected vehicles’ weight, size or even the distance from the scene of arrest to their head office. “These type of sharp practices solely designed for self-enrichment should not be allowed to continue unabated in our dear Lagos State. ” Similarly, COMTUA wishes to reaffirm that, we feel morally compelled and duty bound to report to you that contrary to the hordes of denials and promises by the Lagos State government, the menace of extortions and other unwholesome practices being perpetrated by some notorious state and non-state actors, are still ongoing in many parts of our busy Ports. “Sadly, it would appear that our persistent appeals and calls for prompt government intervention to arrest this drift have been treated with reckless abandon.” “The allegation of multiple taxation on the part of state actors, Wharf Landing Authority, Local government councils is condemnable. “The cost of diesel and spare parts is on the increase. We need government intervention and support. “We in COMTUA shall not despair and will remain more implacable in our legitimate demands for justice to be done and are resolutely determined to continue urging the government and to stay the course until we achieve our just demands.” © 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.