By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has written the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, protesting the N250,000 towing charges imposed on broken down trucks in the state by officials of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) describing it as a systematic rip-off.
The letter dated 11th of August 2023 and signed by Chief Remi Ogungbemi, appealed to Governor Sanwo-Olu to review the traffic law that empowered LASTMA, even as he asked that truckers should be allowed to remove their broke down trucks by themselves.
The letter is titled: REQUEST FOR YOUR INTERVENTION ON LASTMA TOWING CHARGES THAT HAS BECOME A SYSTEMATIC RIP OFF OR ALLOW US TO BE REMOVING OUR BREAKDOWN TRUCKS BY OURSELVES
The letter reads in part “We humbly write to request your kind intervention towards reviewing the traffic law that empowered LASTMA to be charging between 150k – 250k just for removing a truck that breakdown.
This appeal becomes necessary in view of the following:
1. Adverse effects of fuel subsidy removal.
2. Declined in haulage business arising from low importation.
3. Astronomucal rise in the cost of spare parts and trucking operations.
“For your information, the State Traffic Management Authority has always been imposing outrageous towing charges as mentioned above, including some other payments tagged deniurrage, Security and Gate pass, Attached to this letter are the evidence for your peruse.
However, your plan and effort of the State Technical Working Group aimed at domesticating the African Continental Free Trade Agreement ACFTA which coincidentally aligns with the THEMES agenda of your administration, can only be realistic when the business environment is friendly and conducive for the logistics value chain players who are key factors in achieving the immense economic benefits of ACFTA in Nigeria and Lagos State.
“In the light of foregoing therefore, the issue of outrageous traffic offense charges and the menace of Area boys must be addressed by gov ernment for ease of doing transportation business in the State to encourage and enable transport operators to remain in business in the overall interest of ACFTA trade facilitation in Lagos State.
“Secondly, on the issue of allowing us to be removing any of our trucks that breakdown by ourselves, recall we wrote several letters requesting that the State Traffic Agency allow us to be removing our broken down trucks by ourselves as we have reached an agreement with the Association of private Towing Operators in the State for immediate rescue / removal of any breakdown trucks, but all our efforts and pleas are being rebuffed by certain unseen forces that are conniving for their personal and selfish interest to the detriment of Truckers.
“We passionately request that you kindly look into our plights and reasonably consider reduction on Towing charges and traffic offense charges.
“Or. help us to remove the CLOG that is blocking our readiness for immediate removal of any of our trucks that breakdown, 24/7 as per the understanding we had with the Private Towing Operators in the State”