…As Terminals Begin Alcohol Test on Drivers Before Loading
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Truck owners operating at Nigerian ports have called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) carryout a clean sweep of the port environments in Lagos where selling of alcohol, drugs and other harmful substances are predominant and easily available to truck drivers.
DAILY TREND reports that the Apapa premier port and Tin Can Island Ports of Lagos have high concentration of alcohol sellers, drug merchants around the port gates. Also, there are shanties around the ports, especially Tin Can Island Port, which serves as haven for criminals, food vendors, prostitution and other negative vices.
Recall that in July 2021, the NPA in conjunction with the Lagos State Government carried out demolition exercise of shanties and illegal structures at the Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos.
A Task Force which was set up for that purpose also set the Anumorigba Market at the Second Gate of the Tin Can Island Port on fire after ejecting traders from the market. However, due to lack of monitoring, the ejected occupants are back in business.
Chairman of Amalgamation of Container Truck Owners Association of Nigeria (ACTOAN) Mr Ridwan Bello at a meeting with the Port Standing Task Team (PSTT) in Lagos on Monday stated that the major challenge of truck drivers is the intake of alcohol before going into the port to load cargoes.
According to him, the association has partnered terminal operators, especially APM Terminals Apapa, in carrying out alcohol test on drivers approaching the port.
“We go to different truck parks where the truck owners park their trucks and we highlight some of the safety standards that they should put in place.
“When we talk of safety, the bulk falls on the driver, and one of the major challenge with the driver is the intake of alcohol, we have written to the terminal operator; APM Terminals, where drivers are tested before approaching the ports to know if they are in proper state to drive and to know their state of mind.
“You would see drivers sometimes destroying the properties of the terminal operators. So, these are some of the things we have put in place.
“We have also set up a safety committee to go into the port and talk to the terminal operators, trucks that do not have hooks, belts and heading to different destination and warehouse should not be allowed into the port” he said
Also speaking, another member of the Amalgamation, Comrade Sanni Bala noted that the group had recently engaged the NPA and pleaded for the authority to sanitize the port environment, especially from alcohol and drugs.
“The last time we went to NPA, we have urged them on the need to sanitize the port environment, they should dislodge all these alcohol sellers, so that by the time the drivers get to the port or waiting, they won’t seat around to drink alcohol or drugs before going into the terminal where they would be crashing into equipment, over-speeding and so on.
“Amalgamation has been going round different garages and sensitizing drivers on the need to always hook their containers before moving in order to avoid containers falling off trucks on the roads.
“We have also discouraged our members on the indiscriminate dumping of refuse on port access road and open defecation on the port corridor” he said