Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu if Lagos State.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The unending back and forth that has been going on with the issue of the difficulties being experienced by vehicle owners especially truckers on Lagos roads will continue to linger unless the problems are correctly identified and properly nipped in the bud. This is because of the feelers from truck owners who under the aegis of the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA) who have been complaining, writing and meeting with the different state and federal authorities in order to find solutions to the multifarious huddles that tend to negatively impact their business and which they feel is the responsibility of the authorities to clear.
One of the ring leaders in the extortionist activities pictured with his members and police escort.
A reference has been made to a letter written to the Lagos State Government which was titled” Complaints against the unlawful and illegal collection of dues/levy on the highway, intimidation, harassment, assault and threat to life of members of the Kirikiri truckers and carriage operators association by members/workers and or agents of the Amuwo Odofin local government and the Oriade local government areas of Lagos State: An appeal for timely intervention to prevent a total collapse of law and order within the State. This letter was written on the 18th of November 2021 to the state government with a list of all the alleged attrocities being pepertrated by the named local government areas. The Kirikiri Truckers and Carriage Operators Association (KKTCOA) is a pressure group made up of members who belong to the COMTUA and who as a unit had taken the responsibility of writing directly to the state government.
The extortionists harassing truckers are hereby secretly filmed with police escort and vehicle.
Now, on the 3rd day of March this year, the Lagos State Government through the Director, Local Government Administration wrote a letter which was signed by one Razak O Amodu replying the KKTCOA on the various issues of harassment, extortion and threat to life with some interesting points raised in the letter which may further prolong the festering squabbles within the economic subsector.
The letter from the State Government indicated that they have made their necessary investigation which resulted in letters being written to the two named local government areas and that they have denied having any of their staff, agents, franchised revenue collectors or contractors mounting any ‘road block’.
Adeyinka Aroyewun, COMTUA’s National President.
The letter also explained that the Amuwo Odofin and the Oriade local government areas have also denied being privy to any of their staff or agents mounting such road blocks for the purpose of harassment or impounding of trucks or for revenue collection from the truckers.
Thirdly, the letter indicated that a meeting was convened by the local governments on the 23rd of November to discuss the raised issues, but that there was no member of the KKTCOA in attendance and that fourthly their listed phone numbers were not working, the State Government by this particular points seems to be casting doubt therefore on the real existence of the association and of course further aspersion on all the petitioners and their lawyers.
A call was put through to the president of COMTUA, Mr. Adeyinka Aroyewun who disclosed that that the petitioners are a group of individuals who are members of the various units that form the COMTUA, but that because they operate within the Kirikiri area, decided to use the name to write through their lawyers to the State Government. He asked the rhetorical question of the Government “Are they saying that there is no presence of these extortionists, even if the body that the letter was written on their behalf is not registered, what about the individuals being harassed and made to part with their hard earned money, if the state government is saying that they do not recognise the association, was it not their lawyer who wrote the letter or can they not also continue to have such correspondences with the lawyers?”. Mr. Aroyewun insinuates that the Lagos State Government by the conclusion on their letter is trying to play the Ostrich and in the same vein trying to pull wool over people’s eyes.
In a related development, a new set of persons purportedly supported by the President of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) one Musa Muhammad, are said to be forcefully collecting money from truckers with the active support and connivance of some men of the Nigerian Police Force. This extortionist ring is allegedly carrying out its own nefarious activity around the Denca/ABC junction also at Amuwo Odofin. A letter has also been written to the Area E Commander of the Nigerian Police Force, Festac town by one Temilorun Komolafe, the director of legal matters at the COMTUA to prompt them to take the necessary action and stop the extortionists from harassing members in order that the fragile peace being presently experienced within the area may be maintained.
It is obvious that with these allegations flying all round that all is not well in terms of the relationship between the truckers and the various levels of government within these areas and also that there is a whole lot of buck passing with no one ready to take the responsibility for correcting certain infractions and recalcitrant behaviours and this may likely lead to the exacerbation of the insecurity around the country, everyone may therefore suffer for it all in the end. It is therefore pertinent that the authorities in charge within these areas pull the necessary resources to make sure that the right steps are taken to engender legitimate business and to maintain peace.
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