Truck drivers cripple activities at Lagos Ports

As LASTMA impounds 130 trucks
LAGOS-Folowing the recent allegation of bribery demands by port security operatives and officers of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) truck drivers operating at Nigeria’s seaports in Lagosyesterday went on a one day warning strike thereby crippling all activities at the Lagos ports.

Speaking in Apapa Lagos yesterday, President of the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) chief Remi Ogungbemi explained reasons for the strike, saying that the LASTMA officers are towing away trucks belonging to their members.

According to him, the LASTMA officials are taking advantage of the truck drivers and demanding for a whooping N150,000 before the trucks can be released.

Ogungbemi also lamented that there is hostility against tuck drivers at the port for a situation which is not originally their fault but the inability of the government to produce a holding bay where trucks can be parked.

He particularly fingered the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) security officials and men of the monitoring task force at the port for extorting truck drivers by demanding money from them on their queue before they can be allowed to go into the ports and drop their empty containers.

This according to him is the cause of the long queues on all the expressways along the ports in Lagos.

Speaking, he said “LASTMA is towing away our trucks for reasons which is not our fault, they have impounded over 130 trucks and they are demanding N150,000 before they can be released”.

“Our members have decided they can no longer allow this to continue because every day they are being harrased whenever they are on the queue at the ports by security operatives, this is why you see them lined up on the road because they are not allowed to go inside peacefully”

Ogungbemi however listed the demands of the association which includes the unconditional release of the seized trucks, withdrawal of the military from the port access road task force because according to him, they are brutalising truck drivers.

The association is also demanding that container trucks must be allowed to come into the ports freely and discharge their empty containers without demands of bribe from security men.

He warned that if the demands are not met, the association shall embark on an indefinit strike.

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