The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has decried the subjection of its members to “undue extortion by hoodlums and road traffic regulators”, saying that it is making their business unprofitable. AMATO Chairman, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, made this known in Lagos.
Ogungbemi said that despite the huge investment members of the association were making in the business, the truck owners were running at loss.
“The challenges that are confronting the truck operators in maritime industry are enormous. They are no longer breaking even. The amount they are putting in into the business is more than what they are receiving back from the business.
“Put in N20,000, what comes back to you could be zero, because there are so many encumbrances that are militating against the survival and the stability of the business. Among the challenges are extortion by different traffic regulators; extortion even within the cities,” he said.
According to him, if trucks take goods or containers to any area within Lagos metropolis; “you will see people hanging up saying ‘ah come and give us money’. And if they do not give money, they will cause damages.
“At times, they beat up the drivers, collect their money and phones from them. Even if a truck has a flat tyre along the road, before the driver can change the tyre, you see people coming out to say ` no, before you change that tyre give us money” he added.
He said that the situation was making it difficult for truck owners to maintain their trucks regularly. Ogungbemi said the truck owners were forced to buy sub-standard spare parts and lubricants for their cars due to the economic situation in the country.
By Pita Ochai