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Crisis hits seaport truckers as AMATO, NARTO demand JCOST dissolution

Chief Remi Ogungbemi

Crisis is currently brewing among truck owners operating within the maritime haulage sub-sector as the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) and Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) have demanded the immediate dissolution and restructuring of the Joint Council of Seaports Truckers (JCOST) executive council over alleged poor performance.

The two truck owners group in separate petitions made available to newsmen recently expressed displeasure on the performance of the JCOST committee which, according to them, has failed to address critical issues affecting transporters.

JCOST is a committee set up by various truck groups in the sector, including NARTO, RTEAN, AMATO and MWUN drivers’ units, with the aim of engaging government agencies on sundry issues affecting transport operators.

Chief Remi Ogungbemi, chairman of AMATO in a March 24, 2017 letter lamented that the committee had derailed from the original purpose for which it was established, stating that the executives have been using the body to intimidate his members.

On JCOST’s performance in the last six years, the AMATO chieftain maintained that the executive council lack focus, calling for the body to be dissolved.

Ogungbemi in the letter alleged that the executives are using the committee to champion their personal interests while AMATO has no representation in it.

“We discovered that the committee has no focus, no programme, no projection. There is nothing to show as an achievement since their inception.

“We are therefore in support that JCOST be dissolved and a caretaker committee put in place to organise election that will usher in an all inclusive body that no individual can claim to be the founder,” Ogungbemi stated.

Similarly, in another letter dated April 7, 2017 by NARTO to the chairman of JCOST, it demanded from stakeholders the proper restructuring of the committee.

The letter signed by its general manager, operations, Mr Okafor Stephen said “it may interest you to know that we have been playing a fatherly role in this matter by calming down all the agitators and interest groups.

“On this note, we request that your position and opinion be made known to us on or before Thursday, April 20, 2017 in order to avoid imminent danger of industrial dispute or crisis.”

But speaking on behalf of JCOST, Alhaji Isiaka Olalere, financial secretary, explained that the groups were frustrating the committee’s action on the newly introduced freight rate.

He described the call to dissolve the committee as unfortunate, noting that it has come a long way in addressing issues affecting truck owners in the maritime sector. Olalere disclosed that the committee would respond to the letter next week.

 

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