The Council of Maritime Transport Union Associations (COMTUA) has accused security operatives working with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Electronic Call-Up System popularly referred to as Eto of extortion and indiscriminate arrest of trucks. This is even as the group said that to put a stop to the seizure of its trucks by security operatives working with Eto, the association has engaged the services of a foremost lawyer, Mr Ebun Olu Onagoruwa.
President of COMTUA, Mr Yinka Aroyewun, while speaking over the weekend during the groups’ review of its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at a joint meeting of the association’s Board of Trustees (BoT) and the Executive Members, called for a review of the operations of the electronic call-up of trucks.
He specifically alleged that security agencies often impound trucks for little or no offence only for the purpose of extortion.
While addressing the gathering which comprised of all executive members, BoT members as well as COMTUA’s Grand Patron; Alhaji Salami Ishola and its Patron, Mr Sylvester Keshinro, the association’s President affirmed that collections by the operators of the electronic call-up system are illegal.
“The collection by NPA for electronic call up is illegal, it cannot be substantiated. Many of our trucks are arrested indiscriminately over flimsy excuses. We will no longer take the extortion and oppression of our members lightly,” he warned.
To facilitate easy identification of trucks owned by members of COMTUA, a set of stickers and identification cards were unveiled at the meeting for trucks and truck drivers.
The meeting also approved a reviewed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for member associations.
On the new MoU that was signed by all the affiliated associations, Mr Aroyewun disclosed that the reviewed document was to take care of issues that came up at the COMTUA Convention which was held in November in Ikeja, Lagos.
Explaining the rationale behind the new MoU, the COMTUA President said: “This MoU, as a document is standing on an existing MoU. There is a Memorandum of Understanding and by virtue of the convention, some amendments were made.”
Three new executives were also elected at the meeting. They are: Mr Raji Adeshina (Deputy President), Mr Stephen Omotayo (Assistant National Secretary) and Mr Omolola Olushola (Director of Logistics)
The COMTUA President also reiterated that, while it is good to embrace other modes of transporting goods out of the ports, there is no alternative to trucking.
“Don’t label us touts because we are doing this business. The cost of one truck is in the neighbourhood of N15Million and we have people in our midst with 5, 10, 20,30, 40, 50 trucks. As a matter of fact, build any jetty anywhere, build any holding bay anywhere, use any barge or use any vessel, there is no way the goods will get to the warehouse without the trucks,” he asserted.
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