Lagos — THE Council of Maritime Transport Union and Associations, COMTUA, has expressed worry over the slow pace of construction on the Mile 2-Tin-Can end of the Apapa – Oshodi expressway, a development that has led to continued extortion of its members.
In a new year message to maritime stakeholders, President of COMTUA, Mr. Yinka Aroyewun, said that the entire stretch of the road has become a no-go area for motorists and other port users.
Aroyewun also harped on the need to rejig the electronic call up system for efficiency and quick turnaround of trucks at the ports adding that the system has been abused.
He said: “As maritime and associated road transport operators, COMTUA appreciates the challenges of the previous years, especially those that were foisted on the entire world, including Nigeria by the COVID 19 Pandemic.
“We acknowledge the efforts of various government agencies and especially our members in the collective determination to face the challenges of the Pandemic and to ensure that the wheel of the economy is not halted.
“We are hopeful that, 2022 will usher-in a new vista in the quest for a traffic-free approaches to the ports, especially the ones in Lagos.
“The terrible state of the two roads leading to the twin ports of Apapa and Tin Can are, to say the least, deplorable. This is not to deny the efforts of the Federal Government to reconstruct the Apapa-Oshodi expressway. In fact, COMTUA deeply appreciates the resources and seriousness attached to the reconstruction.
“However, we take note and kick against the apparent delay in the Mile 2 to Apapa end of the road. The entire stretch from Mile 2 to Tin-Can port is a no-go area and have been taken over by motorcycle riders (okada riders), who have become lords on this all-important road. Their activities and that of area boys who attack our drivers incessantly for extortion purpose, have become a pain that we no longer wish to endure. We call on law enforcement agencies to come to the rescue of COMTUA and our drivers who are always at the mercy of the street urchins.
“Dear maritime industry stakeholders, we equally wish to call attention to the abuse of the electronic call-up of trucks into the ports.
“May we seize the opportunity of the New Year to reiterate our call on the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) to rejig the workings of the ETO e call-up system, because it is being highly compromised by unscrupulous personnel of both the NPA and Messrs Truck Transit Park Limited, operators of the system.
“For the electronic call-up system to work effectively, there is need to engage more consultants and unbundle the process. Without prejudice to what the current handlers of the e call up is doing, it is appropriate at this time to appeal to the NPA, to re-appraise the whole system.
“For, our members whose trucks are engaged in haulage operations, we pledge to continue to watch your back and ensure that you don’t continue to suffer the consequences of bad roads and incessant harassment by security operatives, both of the Federal Government and the Lagos state government.
“Above all, we assure COMTUA members of a better environment for their trucks and their drivers. We are conscious of the mandate that was given to us in November at the COMTUA conference. We are moving into 2022 with a new road map as unveiled at the Management and Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting in December 2021.”
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