Truckers in Lagos under the auspices of the National Association Maritime Transport Operators (NAMTOP) have written to the national secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to clarify insinuations that the state chairman of the party is meddling in the affairs of road haulage operators in Lagos State.
In a letter signed by NAMTOP’s Secretary, Mr Bala Muhammed Sanni, and addressed to APC’s national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the group affirmed that there was no interference by the leadership of the party in Lagos in the process that led to the emergence of the current leadership of NAMTOP.
According to the umbrella body of all truckers in Lagos, the allegation of interference is an attempt by someone already driven by pride, arrogance, lacking understanding of democratic tenets, knowledge of fundamental rights of choice and attempting to insult the sensibility of the majority.
Explaining how NAMTOP emerged, the letter stated that, it was birthed after a series of complaints by truckers on the activities of street urchins (popularly called Area Boys) and the high-handedness of the state traffic agencies, which is taking a serious toll on trucking business in the state.
The letter was copied to the Presidency, the Governor of Lagos State, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the Lagos State Police Command, the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation and the Directorate of State Services (DSS).
The truckers’ body disclosed that the Lagos State Government, the State Chairman of APC and the Deputy Governor, all advised that truckers should come under one unified body in order to enable the state government to collaborate with the truckers so as to address the challenges in road haulage business in the state.
The letter added that the state advised that it was important to unify truckers to harmonise how they make their decision, and leadership selection and articulate their interest in the maritime trucking industry.
The NAMTOP letter explained to the APC chairman that, rather than accuse the APC leadership in Lagos state of meddlesomeness, it was the majority of trucking unions/associations and their elders that agreed and came up with the National Association Maritime Transport Operators (NAMTOP) as a unified body of Maritime Transporters for the implementation of the Ease of Doing Transportation Business policy in Lagos State.
An executive structure was approved for NAMTOP by the majority of truckers and elders in the maritime industry,” the letter reads.
The group disclosed that an unnamed blackmailer rejected the resolution of maritime transporters and elders on the NAMTOP executive committee.
“The blackmailer and his people eventually left NAMTOP because he was not allowed to dominate the executive committee and created a parallel NAMTOP body and submitted a parallel NAMTOP executive list to the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation at Alausa.
This single act of lawlessness alone prompted the exit of four registered transport associations from Council of Maritime Transport Union and Association (COMTUA), the umbrella body of the blackmailer,” the letter stated.
In the letter to the APC National Secretariat, NAMTOP explained that “still not satisfied with the formation of parallel NAMTOP, the blackmailer and his unregistered umbrella body COMTUA, unilaterally conducted an election and declared one Mr Moshood Olaitan Adisa as the new Chairman of NAMTOP in Lagos State against the Executive Committee already approved by the majority of truckers and their elders in the industry.
“Because the Kangaroo election conducted by the blackmailer was rejected in its entirety for lacking the support of Lagos State Government and popular opinion in the trucking industry, he resorted to a campaign of calumny in order to smear the public images of individuals opposed to his undemocratic, uncivilized and unruly election.
“He has written several blackmail and threat letters to the Lagos State Government, Hon Shola Giwa; former S A to Lagos State Governor on Transportation, the Maritime Transport Elders, Permanent Secretary and officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation and the State Party Chairman to force everyone to bow to his domineering and exploitative tendencies,” the letter reads.
The NAMTOP told the APC Chairman in the letter, “It is on this note that we are urging you to disregard the letter from the blackmailer who has no regard for anyone in the maritime industry including the majority of truckers, the maritime elders, the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian Shippers ‘Council, the Ports Standing Task Team PSTT, and other relevant stakeholders. The blackmailer body COMTUA doesn’t exist by law. Thus, it’s an illegal entity under an illegal president.”