August 5, 2023

Three hospitalized as violence rocks Lagos ports

PORTS DECONGESTION: Apapa Port still overloaded

•Truck drivers, Maritime workers bicker over attack, extortion

By Godwin Oritse

Truckers and Carriers Association of Nigeria, TACAN, and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, are singing discordant tunes over alleged extortion and attack that left three persons hospitalized with severe injuries at Lagos Ports.

While TACAN blamed MWUN members for the attack, MWUN insisted its members had nothing to do with the attack, saying “the attack was a result of an electioneering campaign by the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA that was disrupted by some hoodlums.”

Speaking, a member of the Board of Trustees of TACAN, Mr.Rasaq Babatunde said that drivers and truck owners were attacked and injured because of their refusal to be extorted by MWUN.

Babatunde claimed N8,000 is extorted from each truck between Cocoanut Bus Stop and Tin-Can port daily adding that while some of these collections are receipted, others are not.

He alleged that very early on Thursday morning, some of their members were attacked with dangerous weapons and warned never to come to the ports again.

According to him, “the whereabouts of some members are still unknown as I speak with you.”

An alleged victim of the said attack Kazeem Omoboriowo, who claimed to be speaking from an undisclosed hospital said: “My attackers are well known to me and I am also known to them. I can categorically say that they are members of MWUN.

Another alleged victim, Mr. Taofeek Ogunremi said the attack came unexpectedly after they refused to pay the N3,000 for newly introduced ticket by the leadership of MWUN and the National Association of Road Transport Owners NARTO.

He said: “One of the boys that attacked us told others to stop the attack on me because he is known to him.
“After paying almost N30,000 on the ETO platform to get called up to the ports to load cargoes, you also get to pay another N30,000 before a truck gets to port. Now we are being asked to pay N3,000 to MWUN and NARTO. This is becoming unbearable.”

On his part, Abdullahi Eroje, Deputy General Secretary, Organizing , MWUN, told Vanguard that the leadership of MWUN has no time for hooliganism, but concerned about the welfare of the drivers going in and out of the ports.
Eroje explained that a Court ruled in MWUN’s favour concerning collection of union dues from trucks operating in the ports, explaining that to ensure smooth collection of dues, MWUN and NARTO entered into alliance to collect N3,000 .

According to him, the Union hopes to provide toilets and bathrooms along the port corridor for truck drivers and their motor boys.