By DAPO OLAWUNI
Truck drivers operating at Nigerian ports under the aegis of Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA) has warned of an impending crisis, alleging that the duo of Area E Commander of the Nigerian Police, and the Amuwo Odofin Local Government Chairman, Engnr Valentine Buraimo were conspiring to extort truck drivers on the roads.
National President of COMTUA, Mr Adeyinka Aroyewun said this in a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday.
The COMTUA President argued that both the Police Commander and the local government Chairman were violating the resolutions of a meeting held on 16th of March, 2022 with the Lagos State Government which has warned that all illegal checkpoints and extortion on the road should be stopped.
The statement reads “I wish to use this medium to bring to the knowledge of every Nigerian, the conduct of the commander Area E and the Amuwo Odofin Local government Chairman Engnr Valentine Buraimo, which may lead into crisis within Amuwo Odofin Local government Area
“In a meeting held on the 16Th of March, 2022 at the conference room of the Ministry of Transportation, Lagos State, chaired by the Commissioner for Transportation, Lagos state with the following people in attendance:
1. Hon Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederick Oladeinde
2. The permanent secretary, Ministry of Transportation Mr Kamal Daodu,
3. Deputy Commissioner ( operations) Lagos police Command represented the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State.
4. Area commander of Area B,
5. GM LASTMA Mr Oreagba/ Director operations Mr Peter.
6.Engnr Toriola ( a Director in the ministry)
7. Representatives of
D. PTD ( NUPENG)
“The following resolutions were reached:
1. That NO union should mount any road block on the road.
2. Collection of DUES by union is limited to their garages.
3. No local government council is entitled to any fee, due or levy Collection from trucks on any part of the road.
4. That activities of unions shall be limited to their members and in their garages.
5. That the Electronic call up regime shall be improved for better efficiency.
6. The PTD branch of NUPENG may be covered by eto but at NO FEE as demanded by their Union
7. The meeting shall reconvey to address more issues raised
8. The DCP OPS Lagos Command promises to notify all police Commands to enforce the removal of all illegal road blocks.
10. All allegations of extortion and collections on the road were denied by all unions, including RTEAN ( represented by state vice chairman operations)
“As at Today 5th of April, 2022, Amuwo Odofin, Oriade and Apapa Local government councils keep toll collection multi points within their council and collects forcefully from trucks and even vandalises truck whose drivers are not cooperating. Harrassment and intimidation of drivers and causing injuries happens daily”
“We often report and arrest were sometimes made, but the deo of Engr Valentine Buraimo ( who claimed to licence Mr Ayo Adeniji of RTEAN to collect unbehalf of Amuwo Odofin Local government) and the commander Area E continues to aid these hoodlums
“Our questions to these two agents of state are as follows:
1.Does a Local Government in Lagos deserve the right to issue a permit for revenue collection of trucks?
2. Does revenue collection from trucks after the payment of wharf landing fee not amount to double taxation?
3. Should RTEAN tickets be issued for trucks unbehalf of a Local Government?
4. Do we have any truck garage owned by a Local Government in Amuwo Odofin or any other Local government in Lagos?
5. Is double taxation not a criminal offence?
“All these were put before the commander Area E and the Chairman of Amuwo Odofin, yet, the situation is deteriorating.
COMTUA as a collaboration of Transport Unions and Associations within the Maritime industry will not succumb to the consequences of illegal actions and inactions of Engnr Valentine Buraimo and Area E commander
“These two officers enjoys the proceeds of these illegal toll collections and feels our business and members can be killed for then to be enriched. NO, we can never accept such illegality to stand against our business.
“We demand that the state government make an official pronouncement against the illegal activities of Local government and union collections on roads.
Our members have been pushed to the wall and we may be forced to react”