Maritime truckers petition Lagos State government over extortion by officials
Haulage operators under the aegis of the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA), have petitioned the Special Adviser to the Lagos State governor on Transportation, Mr Oluwatoyin Fayinka, over alleged arrest and indiscriminate issuance of fine ticket by the suspended ad-hoc teams of Committee on Removal of Abandoned Vehicles operating in the State.
Recall that the Lagos State government in September 2021 suspended the ad-hoc teams over several complaints of extortion received from members of the public on the activities of some of the units.
In a letter addressed to the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Government on Transportation by the Director, Legal, COMTUA, Temilorun Komolafe, the truckers alleged that fines are hardly issued, rather cash collections ranging from N300,000 to N500,000 are allegedly collected from truck owners by the members of the committee.
Komolafe, in the letter which was sighted by the Nigerian Tribune, stated that vehicles are however hijacked from drivers while in transit and driven away as abandoned vehicles.
He said, “We wish to draw your attention to issues of irregularities surrounding the above mentioned agency under the Ministry of Transportation. The agency is reponsible for hijacking vehicles from drivers while in transit and driven away as abandoned vehicles. Vehicles are driven carelessly, thereby causing damages to some vehicles.
“Also, in a bid to carry out this operation, weapons are used by thugs attached to the team while policemen attached to the team use arms and ammunition freely and sometimes on our members.”
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Komolafe further stated that trucks are deliberately kept for many days to generate daily charges of N2,000 per day as demurrage are demanded from truck owners.
He also disclosed that there is no medium to seek redress or contest the ticket issued rather than extortion saying he believed the Special Adviser would resolve the alleged issues of extortion.
“Fines are hardly issued, rather cash collections ranging from N300,000 to N500,000 are accepted and where fines are issued, it contains N150,000 as towing (even when trucks were driven), N500,000 for treatment of injured personnel and N50,000 to be paid as fine.
“Vehicles are deliberately kept for many days to generate daily charges of N2,000/day as demurrage. There is no medium to seek redress or contest the ticket issued rather than extortion. Our members are harassed and injured mostly by thugs attached to their team.”