Lagos — The Association Maritime Transport Owners, AMATO, has expressed concern over the proposed protest by the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANTS, at the Ports in Lagos, saying that “protester must be civil with their protest and not allow hoodlums hijack it.”
Speaking on the development, the President of AMATO, Mr. Remi Ogungbemi said that students have the right to protest and express their opinion on issues that affect them.
Ogungbemi however warned that they must ensure that their protest is orderly and peaceful so as not to allow hoodlums hijack it.
“They are Nigerians, they are entitled to their opinions, they have expressed their views and grievances and I saw it along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and they did it at the Lagos Airport yesterday and I also heard that they are coming to the ports.
“Provided they will not be violent about their protest, I think they are free to express their views. We will only advise our members to be careful while the protest is on.
“We have our own grievances as truckers, but it will not be proper for us to join issues with students’ agitation because most of them are learned and I want to believe with their level of education, they will not resort to anything criminal.
“I learnt the protest along the Airport Road and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was peaceful except if there is anything to the contrary,” he said.
In his reaction, Comrade Yinka Aroyewun, President of the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Association, COMTUA, said that “it is the right of every citizen to a peaceful protest however, a protest by the Nigerian student is within their fundamental human rights whosoever business that is affected by the protest, so be it”.
“We do not have anything against the protest as long as it is a peaceful protest and they are doing so within the ambit of the law, we are not averse to it.
“We know that one way or the other, our business and the business of the port may be affected. Yes, we will all have to pay the price for a better society.
“So, we are not contesting it, we are not challenging it. We are pleading with the government to look into the request of the students and address the issues appropriately.
“However, we also want to appeal to the students to be patriotic and to make it a peaceful protest.
“On hijacking the protest by hoodlums, Aroyewun said that enough notice for the protest has been given, the government should be up to it”.
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