Truck drivers operating at the nation’s seaports yesterday asked the Lagos state government for one month moratorium before the enforcement of the restriction of the movements of their trucks to nighttime.
Speaking after a meeting attended by the truck drivers and owners’ associations, terminal operators, representatives of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and freight forwarding associations held at the Board Room of NPA Western Ports, Apapa, yesterday, General Manager, Public Affair of NPA, Capt. Iheanacho Ebubeogu said, “The outcome of the meeting is that truck owners have agreed to suspend the strike but they however made us realise that there are operational challenges to operate between that period given by the law.
“We are going to Alausa to tell the government that they have suspended the strike based on government directive and to draw government’s attention to the operational challenges.
“For instance, at the time they want them to operate, they may get to a point where the receiver is closed or there are mechanical challenges and they will be on transit when the times elapses.
“All these exigencies should be considered when looking at their case. A joint committee has been formed and given a month to look at these issues.”
National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, who attended the meeting also confirmed the development.
According to a resolution made available to journalists after the meeting, the truck drivers are pleading with the Lagos State Government to give due consideration to a letter earlier sent to the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.
“The stakeholders appeal earnestly to the state government to look dispassionately at our plea as contained in the letter earlier sent to the government on the application of the road traffic law to truckers in Lagos State.
“It is of utmost importance that the Lagos State Government considers a one month grace period before enforcement commences.
“We appeal against the molestation of drivers on lawful duty by law enforcement agents. It is a common sight seeing drivers being pursued with canes and sticks and even occasional damage to trucks by these men.
“Also, the absence of garage to take trailers in Lagos is another serious factor militating against safe traffic in Lagos metropolis.
“The security system in our society is not sufficient to guarantee the safety operations of these trucks within the restriction period. Currently, cases of trucks hijacking in broad daylight is alarming such that restricting their movement to the night is like throwing caution to the wind,” the truck drivers leaders said.
By Pita Ochai