By Godwin Oritse
MAJOR truck owners operating in Lagos ports, yesterday, opened a can of warms, alleging fraud in the electronic Call-Up system introduced by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, to address the chaotic traffic situation in Apapa and its environs.
The truck owners, who spoke as members of Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations, COMTUA, and concerned stakeholders, said implementation of the e-Call-Up system is exposed to sabotage.
COMTUA is made up of truck owners in the Nigerian maritime sector.
The associations include the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN; National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW; Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO; Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, and Corporate Fleet Owners.
Those who spoke with journalists, weekend, expressed shock that, contrary to the agreement that the electronic call-up system will cost N10,000, truck owners now pay as much as N31,500 for the service.
They also claimed that the system has been compromised that trucks that had genuine electronic call-up into the ports are not allowed in.
The truckers further alleged a high level of collusion between officials of the Lagos State Government, drafted into the special task force, and officials of NPA, Messrs Truck Transit Park, TTP, who are the operators of the truck parks and the Police.
Reacting to the development, the Chief Operating Officer of the Transit Truck Park, Mr. Debo Adeboye, absolved his organisation of alleged sabotage of the system. He noted that the TTP only makes money when the system works.
He said: “We have heard of the enforcement arm of the Task Force extorting money and we are trying to put a stop to that.
“We are trying to fix the problem; we had a meeting with the Lagos State Government and they are changing the whole Task Force. We want the Policemen to step back, we want the replacement of LASTMA officials and we want a change in the structure.
“The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and the Lagos State government are making plans to correct these anomalies.”
On the payment of the stipulated service charge of N10,000 per truck which the truck owners alleged to have been increased to N31,500, Adeboye said that that claim was not true.
Also speaking, the President, Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations, COMTUA, Mr. Leye Thompson said: “What they collect now is different from what we agreed initially. It is only in Nigeria that you want to convey containers from the port and you pay for such services.”
Similarly, former President, Corporate Fleet Owners and member of COMTUA, Mrs. Folake George alleged that both officials of NPA and AP Moller were frustrating the electronic call-Up system adding that TTP was not fully ready as at the time the call-up system started.
George said: “We discovered that APMT was sabotaging the staff of the NPA on the road when ETO started. They were also sabotaging by trying to convince some of us by saying that are we going to open our eyes and allow this thing to work?”
Vanguard News Nigeria