MD Global Enterprise Nig. Ltd, Abdullahi ‘GG’ Inua.
AN INTERVIEW WITH ABDULAHI’GG’ INUWA, MD GLOBAL ENT. NIGERIA LTD; NEC MEMBER NARTO.
By Dili Utomi.
Question: Sir, you are a transport business operator and are aware of the traffic gridlock and as a reason of that the Nigerian Ports Authority has just developed the electronic call up system, what do you think about the system?
Answer: I think that the electronic call up system is an overdue response to the traffic problem and so is a very welcome idea. It will cut human interference within the system, eradicate the bottleneck along the port corridor as well as reduce extortion and also if it is sustained will create an ease of doing business and it will help us the transporters in our movement and our drivers will be less stressed.
Question : Sir, the NPA call up system apart, the Lagos state government also has just constituted a law and order task team to decongest traffic along the port corridor and clear the roads of all stationery vehicles, what is your take on the operation of this team?
Answer : I think that the idea of the task team in principle is a good one, I think that what is most important is that all these entities operate with synergy, the NPA with their call up system, Lagos state government with the task team and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council with their administrative acumen, they all need to work with the truckers unions. The Lagos task team was instituted before the NPA call up system and I happen to have attended meetings with the team under the leadership of Jide Oduyoye, their task is a fairly direct one and I think that they can bring sanity to the roads as I wish once again that they may work hand in hand with the truckers union.
Question : Sir, do you envisage any problems between the NPA and the truckers over the call up system on the one hand or between the task team and the truckers on the other side, has there been any issue?
Answer: Okay, let’s talk about the call up system first, you know this is a fresh idea that is not up to a week in operation and again, any new idea may not get you the 100% of the expected result at the beginning, there will always be some small teething challenges which I am sure that those in charge will work hard to overcome. You know also that some of us have been in this business for over twenty to thirty years and own truck garages, but because of the bottlenecks that have been created before, most trucks were then parked on the roads, but with these measures in place are moving back to the garages. Again, there are still challenges in people assessing their garages because of the actions of security agencies and some of the boys attached to them, but we have been talking with them to resolve the issues and people are being urged to move their trucks into their garages and should be allowed to access their garages freely.
The NPA should put into consideration the need to create satellite parks to aid those trucks coming in from the North and other parts of the country, from there they can process their papers and then be incorporated into the system in order to serve as bases that feed the lily pond, Apapa and Tin can terminals.
Question : Sir, one or two persons have complained about the excessive nature of the operations of the Lagos state Law and Order task team. There is this complaint about the team going all the way to Epe to tow trucks parked near a terminal there to Alausa and and the owners asked to pay huge fines, do you have any experience in this regard?
Answer : Well, I have not experienced such, but if you are talking about Law and Order, I should say that people should not park their vehicles on the road and create problems for others. Again, before the commencement of the operation, there has been campaigns with jingles on radios and commercials on TV educating people about the coming of the task team and so I am not really aware of that particular case as you have mentioned
Question : Sir, what are your advice for the members of your association in order to make these exercises work?
Answer: The advice I will give to our members is that they should be calm and give these various measures enough time to work, you know some of our members are illiterates and may not be able to understand the proper functionalities of the call up system and the system is new, so they should be patient for the system to be properly tested. My parent body the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) which has memberships and offices across the 36 states are coordinating it’s members to fit into the new system. I do have to accommodate trucks from across the country in my garage as they come in to load cargoes in Lagos. At times they come with escorts, do their documentation before moving into the ports to take import containers for onward movement to other parts of the country.
Question: Moving forward, what more would you want government to help create a more favourable and lucrative environment for your business on order to attract more players into the industry?
Answer : My advice is that whenever the government at any level is about to bring in any fresh policy, we should be included to make input so that we can proffer practical solutions to problems and also to help in encouraging innovations. I believe that if there is a proper synergy between truckers and government which should be, there would be smoother running of our businesses and the economy will be better for it because the Nigerian Ports will take back their roles as the major ports of business along the West African sub-region.
Question : The African Continental Free Trade Agreement has just taken effects, how is NARTO and other trucking organisations keying into it?
Answer : Hey, don’t forget that the NARTO executive secretary Mr. Aloga Ogbogo is the president of the West African Transport Union (WATU) with about 15 member countries, so NARTO is already in operation in the West African sub-region . Again, our former president, Kashim Ibrahim Bataya is also the deputy president of the African Transport Union with over 55 membership countries and so we are already breaking boundaries.