– As drivers decry incessant damages to their vehicles
Lagos — TRUCK drivers operating around the Dockyard – Apapa axis have accused official of the Nigerian Navy of creating illegal truck parks with which they use to extort drivers coming into Dockyard Road to load products.
Speaking on the development, Bashiru Olarenwaju, a truck driver said that it has been discovered that some Transport Unions in connivance with the Nigerian Navy have perfected ways of extorting tanker drivers that come to load products, adding that drivers that are duly called into truck parks for onward movement to the loading bays cannot load.
Olarenwaju also said that tanker drivers who hang around on the road are the ones that are called in to load after monies have exchanged hands with camp boys deployed by officials of the Nigerian Navy.
“The situation has become very frustrating as authorized drivers end up spending more than one day in some of these parks before they are called into the loading bays to load while those who are not on the queue get quick and easy access to load.
“We end up spending more money, paying demurrage and most times this affects our profit margin.”
Similarly, another driver, Mr. Anthony Inno said that he has been inside the park in the last five days and that his truck has not moved an inch due to long queue of trucks scheduled to go into the loading bay.
The delay is caused by the arrangement between the Nigerian Navy and the Transport Union.
“I have been in this very park for five days now and I have not moved an inch. I have not had a proper sleep because I have to be on the queue.
“The cause of this whole thing is the wrong arrangement between the Navy and the Union. We are charged before we enter the Truck Park, and we also pay Navy before we are allowed to go into loading bay to load.” Inno stated.
An official of one of the Truck Parks who did not want the name of his company mentioned said that earlier in the month, one of their senior management staff was injured by an official of the Nigerian Navy for daring to point out their folly.
The Truck Park official also said that all the Navy care about is the monies they get from the drivers, adding that sometimes the drivers do part with as much as N20,000, N25,000 and as much as N50,000.
At different times, a particular female Naval Officer simply called Sub-Lieutenant Adeyinka, the Second in Command at the ‘Open OPMESA Camp’ was accused of breaking the windscreen and side mirrors of their trucks.
He explained that most times, the Navy knows that they get nothing from trucks that go on proper call up process and as such they only deal with trucks that are processed to go to the loading bays because they stand to gain from this category of drivers.
An official of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, who refused to give his name also said that the damage done to trucks belonging to members cannot be quantified, adding that sometimes these drivers are also beaten up by these Navy personnel.
At the open OPMESA Camp, our correspondent met Sub-Lieutenant Adeyinka who said she couldn’t talk to our Correspondent because she has bosses whom she reports to and advised that I talk to one of them.
Speaking in defense of the Navy, Information Officer of the Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Commander Edward Yeibo said that the truck drivers have become uncontrollable adding that the drivers are happy with the fact that sanity is returning to that part of the port access road.
Yeibo, however, denied the allegation that officials of the Nigerian Navy were involved in any form of extortion of tanker drivers saying that “officials of the Nigerian Navy cannot extort anybody, they cannot do that.”
He said: “There are other security agencies involved in the management of traffic in and around Apapa, the Nigerian Navy is not the only arm of government involved in traffic management on that part of the road”.
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