Stories by RICHARDS ADENIYI
A coalition of truck operators under the auspices of Joint Council of Seaport Truckers (JCOST) have blamed terminal operators for the recent truck accident that tilted off the Ojuelegba bridge last week killing three people.
JCOST is a fusion of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Truck Terminal Users Association, Truck Drivers Unit (TDU) of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO).
Rising from a joint meeting, the Chairman of AMATO, Chief Remi Ogungbemi said terminal operators do not possess necessary equipment for loading of containers on truck at the ports that is why containers fall frequently.
The AMATO chairman said, “The terminal operators too have not being doing enough in the area of providing necessary equipment to make sure that the trucks are well loaded and to even certify trucks suitable for carrying certain weight of goods.”
He also said government was part of the factors responsible for falling of trucks on the highway even as he said that the state of the roads were not good for vehicles to move safely.
Ogungbemi pointed out that the government has failed to play its own role by providing suitable roads for their trucks to move and therefore should lay the entire blame on the truck drivers alone. He added that the recent container that fell at Ojuelegba could be as a result of the state of the bridge because according to him, the bridge is tilted and could have caused the falling of the container.
“The coalition of truck operators within the state that also represents other truck operators across the nation have resolved in today’s meeting that we are not fighting government because the government is our government and it is our wish and prayer both the state and federal government will succeed and anyone who loves the government will not do anything that will have a negative effect on the government.
He however quipped that the association highlighted the implications of such decisions of working at night even as he stated that most of the warehouses where the trucks supply goods do not operate at night.
The coalition which said it regretted the rate at which the trucks were falling added that it had already started looking inwards to put up modalities to check mate members in conjunction with the regulations and policies that the authorities would put in place to ensure safety of lives and property.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of JCOST, Mr. Kayode Odunowo said that members have decided to withdraw their services because the Lagos state directive would expose their members to dangers but would also not be comfortable for them to load their trucks in the night.
Odunowo who doubles as the Deputy State Chairman of NARTO said that the strike was inevitable as all pleas with the Permanent Secretary fell on deaf ears during a meeting recently.