Chief Remi Ogungbemile, President of AMATO.
Story by Dili Utomi.
AMATO BLOWS HOT, SAYS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
The Association of Maritime Trucks Owners (AMATO) has given a to the proposed reintroduction of Task Force on the decongestion of traffic within the Apapa and Tin Can ports area. In a statement released by the Pres of the Association, Chief Remi Ogungbemile, the body frowned at what it calls using analogue tools to solve computer age problems. The statement reads thus.
Why does government always see the deployment of security operatives as the best solution to Apapa and Tincan traffic gridlock, even when the same strategy has failed to resolve the problem in the past?
When the Presidential Task Team PTT was inaugurated to resolve traffic gridlock in Apapa/Tincan road axis, it eventually led to the institutionalization of bribery and extortion of truckers by different road cabals in collaboration with the security operatives who became a problem instead of providing solution to the problem of traffic they were sent to resolve in Apapa and Tincan port access roads.
Eventually, the PTT was dissolved and disbanded by government following an avalanche of complaints of gross abuse of its mandate for selfish ends in the maritime trucking industry.
As part of effort to find a lasting solution to traffic congestion in port access roads, the Management of Nigerian Ports Authority NPA has appointed a company called Truck Transit Park Limited (TTP) to manage Lilypond Transit Park and to introduce an automation system of admitting trucks seamlessly into the ports and also to eliminate traffic congestion which is scheduled to take effect on 27th of February 2021.
We also as an association, came up with a Truck Scheduler System (TSS) for seamless admission of trucks into the ports without hassles. But unfortunately, the federal government is planning the lformation of another task team to control traffic in Apapa and Tincan road axis.
This is a very unfortunate development in that the authority does not know how to holistically resolve problem the way it should. The fact that government has hammer does not mean every problem is a nail. There are problems whose solutions do not require the deployment of police and military riffles but a simple technological approach.
The TTP “eto” system or TSS technological automation truck call up system can seamlessly admit trucks into the ports, petroleum tank farm depots and factories without trucks clogging the roads and bridges.
Under this arrangement, all trucks would be made to leave the roads / bridges and go back to their private garages while the Terminals /NPA decide / approve which container or cargo is ready for loading and which truck is in turn to leave its park in order to go and load at ports, factories and depots through the automation system. Tags should also be allocated to trucks that are approved by the automation system to make sure that only trucks with approved tags are allowed to move on the ports access roads without clogging the bridges and port access roads contrary to the manual system of passing trucks where road sides are converted to truck parks and where hundreds of trucks clog the bridges and port access roads in the struggle to enter ports, factories and tank farms.
Therefore, we are using this forum to say capital NO to the introduction of battalion Police or any Task Force to be on the road for manual control of traffic into the ports.
In the light of the above, setting up of any kind of taskforce as solution to Apapa/ Tincan traffic gridlock is a complete misconception of problem, one hundred eighty degree policy somersault, conducting hernia surgery with cutlass and calling for the revival of old order of unlawful extortion of truckers under the guise of task force . The world is moving away from analogue way to digital method of doing things. We call on federal government to jettison the analogue method and embrace digital method of passing trucks into the ports. Human interference forms part of the root cause of traffic gridlock in Apapa/Tincan road axis. ” eto” and TSS are here to replace all human encumbrances that are militating against free flow of traffic in Apapa and Tin Can road axis. Federal government should allow these systems to work in the interest of peace and traffic sanity.
No matter what, the truth must be told. We have no other country we can call to be our country.
The fact remains that we have had more than enough of various task forces and they have failed to be the solution, but they rather came and did whatever they knew best by inflicting various degrees of injuries on truckers and left us half dead.
Therefore, we are saying capital NO to the formation or inauguration of any kind of Committee, please, enough is enough.
CAUSES OF GRIDLOCK
Research carried out has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the major causes of gridlock around Apapa and Tincan are the consistent rise in human population, Importation, exportation, increases in vehicular movements, business activities, etc without corresponding increase and expansion of road networks infrastructures.
Though, expansion can’t come overnight, but there are other way round to it.
As we are in computer age, what we need and which we believe is the only solution is to embrace technology in form of automation system with a view to removing most human interferences in the admitting of trucks into the Apapa and Tin Can Ports including all the factories around Apapa and Tin Can Ports and Petroleum tank farms.
Therefore, introducing another Taskforce as solution is of no use and unacceptable. Except if it is deliberate to allow a few individuals to continue to enrich themselves at the detriment of the majority others or to further compound the problem of truckers.
Chief Ogungbemile calls for sincerity of purpose at all times.