By Godwin Oritse
THE leadership of truck owners operating in the Mile 2-Tin Can Port axis on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway has denied allegations that it was collecting money from truck owners before allowing them to access Lagos ports. They also called for a probe into the activities of those who levelled the allegations.
Speaking to newsmen last weekend in Apapa, the truck owners also accused those who alleged extortion of being the mastermind of alleged unbridled extortion of truckers before the creation of the Task Team on Apapa gridlock, under the leadership of Dr Kayode Opeifa.
The spokesperson of the truck owners in the Tin Can – Mile 2 axis; Mr Salami Ismail, said the petition was against the real owners of articulated vehicles in the axis and Presidential Task Team.
Salami disclosed that, the petitioners were not happy that their source of illegal funds was cut-off by the Presidential Task Team, which has been dealing directly with genuine truck owners in the task of ensuring that the two main access roads into Apapa are free of vehicular traffic.
He claimed that the claims of the petitioners were false and a deliberate attempt to rubbish the effort of the Presidential Task Team.
According to him, “the petition is borne out of frustration due to the dismantling of the criminal activities of middlemen called “truck pushers” by the Presidential Task Force. The inauguration of the Presidential Task Team has been a game changer for easy movement of trucks to and from the ports.
“Before the inauguration these petitioners who were active in the haulage sector as “truck pushers” usually extort truck owners to the tune of N150,000 per truck before access is given to trucks to proceed to the ports.
“The Truck Owners Mile-2/Tin Can Axis, after almost being sent out of business due to the exorbitant fees charged by these middlemen, protested vehemently and raised valid objections to their criminal acts and conducts before the Presidential Task Team”, which reportedly investigated the allegations and corroborated the position of the truck owners, hence the dismantling of the exploitative network of these “truck pushers”.
The group called for a detailed investigation into the activities of the petitioners, arrest and prosecute them for activities capable of inciting the general public against the Presidential Task Team and the Truck Owners Mile-2/Tin Can Axis.