As Osinbajo, Saraki intervene
TTP confirms high extortion
By Godwin Oritse
A group under the aegis of Council of Maritime Transport Unions Association, COMTUA, and drivers have suspended their moves to drag the leadership of Transit Truck Park Limited, TTP, to court over collection of unauthorized and unapproved tolls along the port corridors.
The truckers were of the opinion that the introduction of ‘ETO’ was supposed to eliminate extortions, instead it has only enhanced the menace currently being experienced at the ports access road.
Speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report, President of the Council, Comrade Yinka Aroyewun, said that the court option has been put on hold because the Minister of State for Transportaion, Ms Gbemi Saraki, has decided to intervene in the matter adding if the Minister is not able to resolve it, then the Council will resume action on the matter.
Aroyewun disclosed that it was the same matter that led to the visit of the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibajo.
He stated: “The Minister is mediating and we visited the Vice President; we want to allow the Minister and the Vice President to look into our plight and if after that, if there is no respite, we will proceed on the court matter.
“We believe in the capacity in these two individuals; in the mean time, the action against TTP remain suspended.”
Also Speaking, a member of National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, Mr. Segun David, said the coming of ‘ETO’ has further worsen the issue of extortion promising that the association will move against the menace.
David also said that nobody knows how ‘ETO arrived at the amount they currently slam on the transporters because their charges are not stable.
He explained that whatever needs to be collected should be small as against N27,000 or sometimes N35,000.
He stated: “They promised to eliminate extortion by state and non-state actors when they started. I support the move to legally engaged ‘ETO’; it is welcome development but how they arrive at what amount to collect is shrouded in secrecy.
“It is because nobody has sued them for white collar extortion. Anything above N5,000 is extortion and impacts indirectly on the consumer public.”
…TTP admits extortion, justifies
Meanwhile, the leadership of the TTP, promoters of the Electronic Call up System otherwise known as ‘ETO’, has admitted that extortion of drivers thrives at port corridors.
Speaking on Arise Television programme monitored in Lagos on Monday, Chief Executive Officer of the TTP, Mr. Jamal Onwubuariri, said that truck drivers and owners are still being subjected to extortion, intimidation and damage to their trucks.
Onwubuariri also said that the current situation truck drivers go through on daily basis can be frustrating particularly for people that have gone through the process of accessing the ports.
He explained that the truck drivers were justified in their recent protest on the port access roads to press home their demand to end extortion and seizure of their vehicles by the officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA, a development that has led to the damage of their trucks and sometimes getting their vehicle engines damaged.
He disclosed that there is an ongoing engagement between TTP and the transporters
as stakeholders on the challenges.
He stated: “There are limitations to what a computer can do; you may not be able to remove an officer of the law from the road but you can use technology to capture what he is doing and then escalate it to those who can take action. Action is now required by whoever is responsible for such action to be taken.
“There is an ongoing conversation; we are constantly in touch with both the drivers; we do have a committee made up of transporters and they advice us from time to time on the challenges they are having.”