Mix-up at Lagos Port, Transporters at loggerhead with Task Force over passing of trucks
Members of one of the transport associations at the Lagos seaport, Truck Owners, on Sunday, confronted security operatives assigned to the Presidential Task Force on Apapa Gridlock over passing of trucks on the Mile 2 – Tin Can Island route to access the Port for loading of consignment.
Truck Owners were at loggerhead the security operatives for solely passing of 300 trucks from the Fagbems Petrol Station axis on the Mile 2 corridor to access the Tin Can Island road to the Port.
Some other transporters who witnessed the impasse on Sunday morning alleged that the Truck Owners accused security operatives of the Presidential Force of breach of agreement on sharing of trucks to be issued Pass Tags to access the Tin Can Island Port through Mile 2.
The Truck Owners were to have, therefore, attepted resistance of the unilateral issuance of Pass Tags the security operatives to truck drivers at Fagbems Petrol Station to access the Tin Can Island route.
Sources from the Port disclosed that 300 truck spaces were declared on Sunday for loading at the Port. The sources said the Truck Owners, who were identified as unregistered group, demanded their 50% trucks allocation from the 300 slots but the Police insisted on performing their duties without inference. This degenerated into disagreement and threats of violence at the Fagbems Petrol Station operational unit. The Police were accused of allegedly taking up the 300 spaces for their priority trucks.
The police had resorted to self-protection and scaring away of the invaders by shooting into the air, firing warning gunshots to prevent further attacks from the Truck Owners and thugs operating on that axis.
Sources disclosed that trucks were passed from Zone D in the last operations while trucks were to be passed from Zone E on Sunday.
The Truck Owners were alleged to have introduced payment of N40,000 per truck before drivers are issued Pass Tags at Fagbems Petrol Station to access the Tin Can Island route from Mile 2.
Operatives of the Presidential Task Force on the Mile 2 – Tin Can Island route were said to had intervened to save truck drivers from exploitation in accordance with their mandate but the Truck Owners attempted to resist the operatives.
Also, the Presidential Task Force on Sunday turned back several truck drivers who attempted to manipulate the procedure of truck movement by boycotting the transit LilliPond Park and drove directly to the port for loading. Those trucks were turned back at Eleganza by the Task Force and ordered to comply with the agreed regulations and transit procedures. There were, however, no resistance to the directives at the Eleganza operational unit; the defaulting truck drivers complied.
The Mile 2 – Tin Can Island operational unit has been controversial in recent months because of alleged interference of Truck Owners who were accused of introducing collection of money before issuing Pass Tags at Fagbems Petrol Station to truck drivers to access the Tin Can Island route to the port. This recently generated crisis, including accusations and counter-accusations of exploitation of truck drivers by stakeholders in Transport business at the Port.
There were also protests and calls for investigations into the alleged money collected from truck drivers on the Mile 2 – Tin Can Island route.
The Truck Owners have, however, denied collection of money from truck drivers on the Mile 2 – Tin Can Island corridor.
Meanwhile, operatives of the Task Force have distanced themselves from collection of money from truck drivers; they are also showing commitment to freeing the port arena and its environs of traffic gridlock and restoring order in port operations in accordance with the mandate given to the Presidential Task Force at inauguration in 2019.
Meanwhile, some elders in Transport business at the Port have intervened to reconcile the stakeholders and the Task Force. A mediation and reconciliation meeting has been fixed for Tuesday.
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