By Godfrey Bivbere
The leadership of the joint unions of truckers doing business at the ports in Lagos, Association of Maritime Truck Owners, AMATO, and Container Truck Owners Association of Nigeria, COTOAN, have instructed their members to stop paying toll (bribe) to security agents along the port access roads to facilitate their entrance.
The new directive, according to the President of AMATO, Remi Ogungbemi, follows the introduction of the manual call up system by the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA.
Ogungbemi said that with the new call-up system, truckers have no need to pay toll to security personnel to get access into the ports and further stressed that there is no need for truckers to continue parking their vehicles along the road. The AMATO President therefore charged truckers to park their trucks in their various garages until they get clearance to proceed to the port to load.
A statement made available to Vanguard Maritime Report read in part, “All truckers should stop paying for passing of their trucks into the ports, doing so is an act of foolishness.
“NPA said that the manual call-up is a condition to regulate/control movement of all trucks coming into the ports, being precursor to electronic call-up system. Therefore, all trucks should go to their garage and wait until they collect call-up paper to enter the ports,” the statement noted.
A leader of one of the unions who spoke with Vanguard Maritime Report on the condition of anonymity, said that the extortion by the security personnel has gone digital as they no longer collect money from truckers directly but provide account numbers where bribes are paid/ transferred to through mobile banking service.
The union leader stressed the need for truckers to adhere to the new directive since it does not make sense to continue paying such bribes because such drivers will only be victims since they would not be allowed to get into the port on the basis of the bribe alone.