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About 90% of truckers violate traffic rules on ports corridor, says PSTT

By Adaku Onyenucheya
26 October 2022   |   2:36 am
The Presidential Standing Task Team (PSTT) has refuted corruption allegations made against it by truckers, saying its officials are not involved in extortion on the port access roads.

[FILES] Truckers

COMTUA claims truckers are victims

The Presidential Standing Task Team (PSTT) has refuted corruption allegations made against it by truckers, saying its officials are not involved in extortion on the port access roads.

This is coming after truckers under the aegis of the Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Association (COMTUA), recently, accused the PSTT of fraud and extortion.

Recall that the PSTT was inaugurated by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and comprises all the country’s security apparatus, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

The coordinator of the PSTT, Moses Fadipe, who spoke to journalists, said the team only arrests trucks violating traffic rules and disrupting the ease of doing business on the port corridors.

Fadipe explained that the allegation of extortion against the PSTT was baseless and libellous, because the team ensures high-level monitoring and supervision of all team members, noting that they are changed regularly at every point they operate.

According to Fadipe, about 90 per cent of trucks, which are arrested for violating ease of doing business on the port corridors, are not roadworthy and do not meet the standards of entering the ports.

He said at the point of arrest, the PSTT discovers that most of the trucks have expired documents of about 10 to 15 years nor do they have documents as well as expired licences from the drivers.

The Guardian, in the document provided by the coordinator of the PSTT, found that from April 24, 2022, to date, over 170 trucks were arrested for violation offenses.

“Majority of the trucks we have apprehended so far do not have papers. Even when they have papers, they have expired for over 10 to 15 years. We start to wonder why they are on the road,” he said.

Fadipe said truckers have also turned the port corridors into mechanic workshops for the repair of their trucks, adding that some of them deliberately park and open their trucks’ bonnets pretending something is wrong just to stay there.

Giving details on the activities of the PSTT, Fadipe said once a truck is apprehended, the team looks for the driver and the agent if it is loaded to know where the cargo is heading.

According to Fadipe, the drivers are asked to take the vehicles off the road which they refuse by leaving them there.

He said the PSTT tows the trucks to a nearby parking facility to allow for easy movement of other vehicles on the roads.

Fadipe said the trucks are registered there under the PSTT, adding that the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), which is part of the team, engages the truck drivers and demands their documentation, including papers of the trucks and the driver’s license.

He said if the documents are not valid, the truckers and their drivers have to go and revalidate them at the licence office, which includes vehicle licence, insurance, roadworthiness and other documentation, which comes with fines.

Fadipe said after revalidation of the document, the PSTT looks at the truck papers and issues a form in which the trucker goes to the bank and pays into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

He said the truckers are given a letter of undertaking to sign, stating they will never constitute a nuisance again.

Fadipe said the PSTT then gives a vehicle release form, which will be issued to the park manager, containing the offenders name, vehicle registration, model, phone number, owner’s name, receiver’s name and signature cleared by who from the task team and signature.

He said without the park seeing this, they won’t release the truck, noting that the process is to avoid people saying their trucks were moved somewhere and they couldn’t find it.

The PSTT coordinator, however, challenged COMTUA to provide evidence of the team or the Police for further investigation.

On allegations of conniving with third-party facilities to extort truckers, Fadipe, said during the meeting between the team and stakeholders in the trucking business, it was agreed that the Lagos State government facilities charge as high as N200, 000 before trucks are removed, hence the decision not to use the facilities.

He said it was also agreed that private facilities should be used as they charge between N3,000 to N10, 000 as rent from Apapa to Mile 2 based on their location to the ports.

Fadipe said the PSTT towing vehicles do not take trucks to facilities with long distances, as they would pay more for the towing services.

He said the maximum truckers pay is between N5, 000 to N10, 000 for empty trucks, while for loaded trucks the amount is N15, 000 maximum.

Meanwhile, the National President of COMTUA, Adeyinka Aroyewun, while responding to the claim of the association promoting corruption and sharp practices along ports corridors, said the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and PSTT are ineffective in their operations.

He said COMTUA members are victims of every action or inaction of agencies rather than being protected, noting that extortion of its members by all agencies of government should not be overlooked.

Aroyewun questioned when the PSTT became a traffic enforcement team to the extent of arresting trucks for the purpose of patronising garages belonging to their fronts.

“What informed the use of Port Express as a garage for enforcement? COMATUA would naturally have ignored an ineffective agency like NSC but the use of an unintelligent officer to allow them to dance naked in public: needs a bit of advice.

“We just want the law to take its course on all issues bordering on corruption, breakdown of law and order, actions and inactions of agencies of government attracting corruption and the forensic investigation of corrupt activities of PSTT and NSC. We challenge PSTT to allow law enforcement agencies to do their job,” he stated.