By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has written a protest letter to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu over the recent appointment of the Council of Maritime Trucking Unions and Associations (COMTUA) as the umbrella body to speak for all maritime truckers.
The protest letter dated 16th December 2022 was signed by AMATO President, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, a copy of which was obtained by DAILY TREND.
The association said “We write to express our disagreement and total rejection of the non-transparent and questionable circumstance that led to the emergence and
recognition of COMTUA as umbrella body of trucking associations in the maritime haulage industry due to the following reasons:
1. On the 5th of October 2022, all Trucking Unions and Associations met to democratically
select a neutral Union body that would be presented to Lagos State Government as a unified body of all trucking Associations in Maritime haulage industry. In the process of
selecting a neutral trucking body to represent us, COMTUA worked out of the meeting, insisting that we should not adopt any other union except COMTUA name or they go
away. Eventually, they walked out of the meeting despite all persuasions. Consequently,
we adjourned the meeting.
2. We scheduled another meeting that was held at Standford Hotel Ajegunle, where the
agreement was reached to jettison mentioning names of Associations, rather we agreed and adopted AMALGAMATION as a unified name to represent all the Associations and notable individuals that represented various areas were appointed to append their signatures to a letter to the State Government. Letter to that effect was sent to the Lagos
State Ministry of Transportation and office of your Special Adviser on Transportation.
3. Later, we reliably gathered that an election took place on the 2nd of November 2022 at
Ministry of Transportation Alausa where the COMTUA that walked out of the previous general meetings of truckers quickly and tactically organized a sham election and declared itself winner for recognition by Lagos State Government as the unified body of truckers to represent trucking associations in the maritime industry, even the claim and including AMATO name as part of the so called electíon at Alausa Secretariat is a misleading and fraudulent Therefore, there is no way that COMTUA that is in total disarray can be appointed
and introduced without the consent and knowledge of the key Stakeholders in the
sector, and that COMTUA cannot forcefully and unjustly impose itself on registered
trucking associations in the maritime industry. A free, fair and credible election for
selection of umbrella body for trucking associations should be conducted by a neutral
body, on a neutral ground and on a date known to all for everyone to prepare not a kangaroo election conducted and announced in secrecy by the party that conducted the election and expect the parties that did not participate in the election to accept the validity of the election result and the elected candidate.
5. In light of the foregoing therefore, we reject the shambolic election that declared,
appoint and introduce COMTUA as the unified body of all trucking associations.
6. Furthermore, the past antecedent and characters of COMTUA that are synonymous
with organized extortion against truckers, violence, lawlessness that prompted the exit of NARTO and MWUN from the collaboration coupled with its open antagonism
towards the ETO automation system of traffic sanity, contempt for the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, Nigeria Shippers ‘Council NSC, the Port Standing Task Team PSTT and other relevant stakeholders of order and sanity in the maritime ecosystem, COMTUA
does not have the character, integrity, and diplomacy needed to lead the trucking community for peace, orderliness, conducive business environment, and cordial
working relationship between truckers and authorities within and outside the maritime
7. On this note, we are calling for withdrawal of the recognition conferred on COMTUA
as the appointed body of trucking associations in maritime trucking industry by Lagos
State Government through the ministry of Transportation for peace, progress and
orderliness in the Maritime industry.
8. The exit of COMTUA from the truckers general meeting for adoption of neutral name
prompted the majority of truckers to adopt the name AMALGAMATION which AMATO
also subscribed to as neutral umbrella body of trucking associations to work with
Lagos State Government and the maritime industry regulatory authorities and relevant stakeholders for orderliness, sanity, peace, progress, conducive business environment for truckers and enhanced cordial working relationship between truckers
and authorities of which letters were sent to Lagos State Government through the
Ministry of transportation, the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council, the Port Standing Task Team and other relevant stakeholders with positive feedbacks from some quarters of authorities indicating interest to collaborate with AMALGAMATION composed of good men and women of honor and track record of integrity dedicated to peace and progress of the industry.
“In conclusion, we look forward to your kind reversal of the recognition accorded to
COMTUA for peace and goodness sake of the industry.
Copy of the letter written for the introduction of AMALGAMATION as our adopted unified
body for the representation of truckers is herewith attached for your peruse”