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Truckers accuse NPA of safety compromise



Truckers operating in the maritime sector have accused the Nigerian Ports Authority of not inspecting trucks before issuing them the minimum safety standard sticker.

The Council for Maritime Truck Unions and Associations, in a recent letter titled ‘Contradiction, discrepancies and inconsistencies surrounding the minimum safety standard sticker regime’, signed by its President, Adeyinka Aroyewun, directed to the Managing Director of NPA, alleged that claimed that NPA was only interested in revenue generation, paying little attention to safety.

Aroyewun said that the group had established the continuous patronage of the seaports by rickety trucks.

The letter read in part, “I wish to express our association’s concern about several issues we have raised in the past, concerning the minimum safety standard sticker and your non-response to our request for an audience to discuss it and other associated issues. The policy was contemptuously made a prerequisite to the electronic call-up process for trucks to access the port, and we were forced into it eventually.

“Confirming our earlier disagreement on the policy and our belief that it is intended for revenue generation against the claim of safety, we have observed that trucks were never inspected before the stickers were issued, and we have been forced to pay for services not rendered.”

The COMTUA boss, however, blamed the constant accident involving container-laden trucks on the poor state of the trucks.

“We have reported through a letter and have proven to officers of the safety department in a meeting that vehicles without requisite documents possess the stickers and conduct business in and around the ports. The several accidents happening on the roads, which often involve container-carrier trucks, have further confirmed our claims against the policy.

 “We have sorted an audience with you through many letters on this issue and other related matters, but you have never obliged us.”

Also speaking, a member of the committee for Lagos State Maritime Truck Owners, Yakubu Kolawale, in a telephone conversation with our correspondent in Lagos, accused thugs of vandalising their trucks.

 He said they had written several times to the management of NPA, but it had failed to do anything on the issue.

He accused NPA of being only interested in the money.

“We have written several times to the government, even the NPA, but nothing had been done.  They are only interested in collecting money.

Reacting to the allegation, a source in NPA, who did not want his name in print because he had not been authorised to speak, said the accusations were false, adding that the authority did not issue stickers to trucks without inspections.

“I wish you would come and see the processes they undergo before issuing out the stickers to the truckers. What we do is that no sticker is issued to any trucker without inspections. During the inspection, if a truck does not meet the standard, we do not issue stickers to such trucks, meaning that the allegations that we are only interested in money do not hold water.”

He also said that the authority had increased the number of its staff members carrying out the inspection.

“If we go out and see that your truck is not up to the standard, we do not give you a sticker. Sometimes people paint stories the way they will suit them. Even what we do now is that one person cannot go for an inspection. It must be a minimum of two to three people. So, if anyone is telling you that, it is not true.”

He said that truckers now forge plate numbers in order to find themselves inside the ports without inspection.

“We have discovered that many trucks because they are rickety, forge plate numbers of trucks that have stickers and use them to come inside. So, if you see those types of trucks, you will say we issued stickers to them. So, those are the issues. How can you allow another truck to copy your truck number? They go as far as getting a new truck number that tallies with someone’s number and use it to lobby for the sticker,” he explained.

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