By Uche Usim
Tons of cargoes were left unattended to at Lagos ports yesterday as truck owners protested the recently introduced N10,000 registration levy by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The peaceful protest saw aggrieved truck owners carry placards with various inscriptions as they marched through the various roads leading to the sea terminals.
The transporters on the platform of Coalition of Port Dry Cargo Transport Operators (CPDCTO) lamented that NPA’s directive to forcefully collect the levy from them was inimical to the smooth operations of the ports.
Some of the placards displayed at the Apapa port’s entry gate by the protesters read: “Yes to safety of minimum standard, No to N10,000 per truck”. “Enough of levies, fines and all forms of extortion”; “Dismantle the bottlenecks that yield corruption”, among others.
Speaking with journalists during the solidarity protest at the entry gate of Lagos Ports Complex, the Committee Chairman, Port Dry Cargo Transport Operators, Abdullahi Inuwa, said the protest was against the backdrop of the port authority’s insistence on collecting N10,000 levy on each truck before it can be cleared for business.
Inuwa reiterated that the truck owners group comprising NARTO, RTEAN, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria drivers unit, AMATO, NURTW and TTUA said they are in support in ensuring that the trucks meet the required minimum standard but added that the levy imposed on them by NPA is not acceptable.
Inuwa, who also doubles as the Vice Chairman, Wet Cargo, Lagos State NARTO, described the N10,000 collection from NPA as a mode of revenue collection by the NPA from the transporters.
“We object to the N10,000 levy to be collected by NPA, though we subscribe to the safety minimum standards of trucks. We are resisting the levy because they did not create an enabling environment for us.”