Lagos — The protest embarked upon yesterday by members National Association Road Transport Owners, NARTO, drivers and other transportation groups disrupted operations at the ports in Lagos as they withdrew their services.
A visit showed no vehicular movement in and out of the ports, a development that could lead to another round of port congestion.
The protesting drivers carrying placards with various inscriptions such “#EndLastmaExtortion”, “#WESAYNOTOLASTMAEXTORTION”, Down review of ETO booking fee”, just as they also said that they will bring their vehicles back until the government takes action on their demand.
Speaking on the development, a driver, Mr. Friday Jakal said that the trucking business has become unattractive because of the high level of extortion from various government officials.
Jakal said that these extortionists have turned drivers and transporters to their Automated Teller Machine, ATM.
He said: “We are frustrated, officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Nigerian Police and unscrupulous elements collecting tolls from transporters has made the business unattractive for us.
“As I speak to you seven of my trucks are parked in my garage and they will remain there for as long as possible until this issue of extortion is resolved once and for all.”
Effort to get comments from the Nigerian Ports Authority on the development was futile as the General Manager, Corporate Strategic Communication department of the agency, Mr. Ibrahim Nasiru was said to be out of the country.
Similarly, the Lagos State Chairman of NARTO, Comrade Kayode Odunowo, the extortion by these various agencies have become unbearable for transporters hence the protest.
“We visited the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport to discuss the issue of the activities of Area boys are disturbing our businesses and they promised to look into it and as we speak nothing has been done over the numerous extortion points on the port corridors.”
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