The Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations (COMTUA) has introduced a compulsory N3,000 levy on all trucks seeking access into Nigerian ports.
Supervisor of COMTUA, Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammad-Inunwa who is also the Lagos State Vice-President, National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) Dry Cargo Sector confirmed this development to DAILY TREND NEWS.
Our correspondent who visited the Apapa ports on Tuesday noted that trucks that failed to part with the N3,000 were not allowed access into the port, a situation that nearly degenerated into crisis.
COMTUA is a coalition of six existing unions in the maritime sector, namely Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Amalgamation of Container Truck Owners Association, and Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners.
Others are Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, National Union of Road Transport Workers (Heavy duty section) and Association of Maritime Truck Owners.
While reacting to truck drivers protest against the N3,000 levy which they described as extortion, Innua said the money is to be paid by truck owners and not the truck drivers.
He said it was a collective decision by all the union to begin collection of the money
Speaking, he said “It is not extortions, rather, it is a collective decision by all the Unions and Associations that came together and formed COMTUA”
“The 3,000 in question comes out from the truck owners pocket, not from the drivers. Also, there is ticket for it”
“Even half of the money is being planned to be kept aside for the drivers welfares and other projects”
Meanwhile, truckers have kicked against introduction of the N3,000 levy.
Reacting to the new levy, a truck driver, Mr Goddy England berated the Presidential task team in charge of traffic gridlock in Apapa.
He alleged the presidential task team and the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) has taken the opportunity given to them to extort truck drivers.
According to him “you can’t say there is no longer extortion we still pay money even with the manual call up system in place, for trucks that have the manual call up the Presidential task team and NPA, collects N3000 from each drivers before going into the port and trucks without the manual call up pay N7000”.
He said with the look of things the Navy and other military formation that was suspended might return if the anomalies are not corrected.
According to him “we are saying that truckers are happy that the Navy and other military formation has been suspended, but if care is not they will return because we are still experiencing the same thing, and except this collection of money stops it might leads to their return.”
He urged NPA and the presidential task team to look into the matter before it gets out of hands.
Recall that the Federal Government suspended the Navy and other military formation at the port axis after incessant complains of extortion by trucks owners.