…Positions to Access N10billion Palliative From Government
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Container Truck Owners Association of Nigeria (COTOAN) at the weekend in Lagos inaugurated new set of executives to pilot affairs of the association for the next two years.
This is even as the body, an affiliate of the Coalition of Maritime Truck Unions and Association (COMPTUA) has said it is ready to access the N10billion proposed by the Ministry of Transportation as palliative for transport workers.
At the inauguration which held at conference hall of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Olodi Apapa Lagos, General Secretary of COTOAN, Comrade Yakubu Kolawole Azeez, argued that apart from the federal government, the truck owners are the highest employers of labour in the Nigeria and all over the world.
He said the association is overdue for any form of assistance that can be rendered by the federal government, adding that other sectors have been enjoying one form of palliative or the other, while transportation business has been neglected.
Kolawole who doubles as Financial Secretary of COMPTUA said “Apart from government, the truck owners are the highest employers of labour in the whole world, we employ mechanics, drivers, rewires, motorboys, and so on”
“An average of eight to ten people work to feed their families from a single truck that we are the owners, so the government should take us very important, we are not to be overlooked”
“We would be glad to key into this N10billion Palliative, though a lot has been said, but there has been no action, we even said that the federal government should set aside some percentage of money they are getting from this maritime industry for the maintenance of the industry”
“We are so much ready to receive help in whatever form it would come, in fact we are overdue, the government is helping other sectors, transportation is the only one left behind, even though we are the movers of the economy, and we are also the second highest employer of labour” he said
Comrade Kolawole said the association was formed 8-years ago as a coming together of all truck owners to fight for the interest of their members.
He said its main objective is to ensure delivery of containerised consignment throughout the country.
The association also operates at other ports like Onne, Port Harcourt among others.
Speaking, he said the new executives would fight for the interest of her members, and to tackle the issue of trucks staying on the port access road for two months and shipping companies using trucks as holding bay, he said the association would not allow this anomaly anymore.
“Some of our members are on loan, and the banks would not listen to your excuses that your truck is on the road for two months you would have to pay back” he said
The new COTOAN executives that were inaugurated on Saturday are;
Alhaji Muri Agunla as Board of Trustees (BOT) President, Wasiu Olojoku as BOT Vice President, Alhaji Wasiu Oluwanishola as Executive Chairman, Waheed Emayo as Vice Chairman, Mr Yakubu Kolawole General Secretary, Muhimdeen Apia is Treasurer, Samson Afolabi is Financial Secretary.
Others are; Rasak Ebonireyo as head of operations, Rahman Alayande assistant head of operations, Tunde Ganiu is chief whip, Muritala Farouk is PublicRelations Officer (PRO), while Alhaji Tunde Olope is welfare director.
Speaking earlier, outgoing BOT President of COTOAN, Alhaji Wasiu Oluwatoyin Olomoda called for corporation among the new executives. He appreciated the members for the support he enjoyed during his tenure.
President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju declared support for COTOAN, saying that without the truckers, the business of port operations is not complete.
Adeyanju who was represented by Comrade Abdulahi Eroje stated that
“COTOAN being an association and other truck owners association, we see them as the backbone and builders of the economy, because if a vessel calls at our port, the NPA, the dockworkers all carry out their functions, but without the truckers, the cargo would not move, and you cannot build any economy without haulage services, all over the world, they move goods and services to destination points”
“We know what the drivers suffer on acess roads to our port, we know the pains of the owners, so we have a lot of respect for them. This is the reason why COMTUA was formed, and we have been working together to ensure that the gridlock becomes a thing of the past as well as the extortions on port access roads”
Adeyanju assured that MWUN would give maximum support to COTOAN to operate, saying that the union work would not be complete if goods are not moved out of the port.
Foremost truck owner, Alhaji Ishola Salau was among the dignitaries that graced the occasion. He commended the immediate past leaders of COTOAN for their leadership style, even as he urged them to be role models for the new executives.
In his acceptance speech, Executive Chairman of COTOAN, Alhaji Rafiu Oluwanishola assured that the new executives would work together and lead COTOAN to a better and enviable height.
Speaking, he said “I want to use this opportunity to ask for the support of members of COTOAN because unity is strength, and it is only through unity that we can achieve greatness.
I will listen to the suggestions and advise that would help to move the union forward. When we corporate, we can do great things together”
Oluwanishola said part of the challenges that would be tackled headlong by the executives is the suffering and delay of truck drivers on port access roads.
“I want to reduce all these problems in order to make sure that truck owners and drivers appreciate their work” he said.