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Truck Drivers, Navy clash: The crisis will never end — Stakeholders warn

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…Charge govt to take decisive action

By Oko Ebuka

SEQUEL to the clash between officers of the Nigerian Navy on traffic control duties along the Apapa access road and the Truck drivers this weekend, over alleged extortion and high-handedness by the Nigerian Navy officers, some concerned stakeholders have said that the crisis will continue to occur unless the government takes necessary actions to correct the ills going on in the port.

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In his reaction to this, National Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Joe Sanni, in a chat with Vanguard Maritime Report, said that for a very long time, those charged with the responsibility of enforcing some of these traffic rules, are slacking in enforcing the traffic rules.

He also blamed the crises on negligence on the part of the appropriate government agencies as well as corruption and poverty. He faulted the government for bringing in the military to handle traffic situations in the port.

According to him, “Those who are in charge of maintaining the roads decided to leave the roads to dilapidate and those who should enforce the order that all containers should stay off the road, are slacking in their responsibility.

“Those who are even supposed to ensure that a virgin land outside of Lagos is gotten to construct a truck village, where either the tankers or whichever, will load and unload their trucks, they are slacking in their responsibility too.

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“It will continue to be a crisis galore until we begin to enforce traffic rules. There is nothing anybody can do for now, and that is why this ad hoc measure, bringing in military people to come and be directing traffic, of course, with poverty in the land they must get corrupted and the situation becomes even worse.”

Sanni equally blamed the truck drivers for their attitude of disobeying the Nigerian Port Authority, NPA, over usage of holding bays.

“Even the truckers that are saying no to the intervention of the Navy, they also have their problems, because they always refuse to take directives.

‘‘NPA has several times told them to go and be patronizing some holding bays, but instead what do you see, they will still continue to hang around just because of selfish interest.

“Even when things are deteriorating, we were calling the attention of the authority, yet they did not listen. What do we do? We will just fold our hands until one day God decides to enter the minds of those who are supposed to enforce the traffic rules”, he concluded.

Also in his reaction, Managing Partner/CEO, Francis Omotosho & Associates, Mr Francis Omotosho, said that the crisis was as a result of the level of  excessive negligence on the part of the government, as well as extortion by officers of Nigerian Navy who allow some trucks to pass without proper check after collecting bribes from them.

He stated: “The Nigerian Navy no longer collects money cash in hand, they now give drivers papers to go and pay direct to their leaders. The ones standing on the road, out of frustration, will be aggressive against the drivers.”

He further urged the government to clean up Apapa road and restore the place to normalcy.

“Government should reclaim their lands from Ajegunle in order to make provisions for truck parks, clean it up and restore Apapa to normalcy because this place generates much revenue for the country,” he said.

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