United Against Extortion: MWUN, NARTO, NAMTOP Collaborate
…sign MoU to enhance trucking, vow to stop perpetrators
By Jerry Aguigbo
The Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria, MWUN, National Association of Road Transport Owners and National Association of Maritime Truck Owners & Operators, NAMTOP are coming together, collaborating to improve truck business and most importantly, stop the extortion of Truckers by touts and some security Agents, especially Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA and some none State actors masquerading as Lagos State Parks and garages who are daily extorting and maiming Truck drivers on the roads. The group after weighing the situation on ground, decided to Synergize, to form a unified front to fight this cankerworm in the system and this crystalized yesterday at NARTO Secretariat, Lagos, with the official swearing-in of the Board of Trustees (BoT), the Management Team and the Field/ Operation Officers of the Group and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU by the Heads of contributing Unions.
Paramount amongst the reasons for this Collaboraton is the welfare of drivers and Dockworkers, with the group already resolved to implement a welfare Scheme. Also of primary concern is the safety of drivers who are killed and maimed. The safety of Trucks on our roads is a driving force behind this Collaboration and will also be given priority, the organizers said.
Giving a keynote address, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, a chieftain of NAMTOP and Chairman AMATO said it’s a good thing to Collaborate but advised that the various groups must come with a sincerity of purpose, the group must make the problems of Truckers a priority and refrain from putting money first. He called on the group to fight arbitrary impounding of Trucks and other security Agencies at every given excuse.
Speaking earlier, the President-General Maritime Workers’Union of Nigeria, (MWUN) and Deputy National President, Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju also harped on the sincerity of purpose if the group must achieve its aims and objectives. “We must work with sincerity of purpose, without which there will be cracks on the wall.”
He continued by saying that “the FG has no plans for Truck drivers and their owners, even with their immense contributions. The government is making things difficult for them and that is unfair, the Terminal Operators cannot evacuate Containers without truck owners who are mistreated and charged at random without consideration,” he submitted.
Furthermore, Adeyanju said,”we are at this Collaboration to fight a common enemy, we will defend the right and we will right the wrongs.” He noted that MWUN as has been expressed by other speakers, is reformed and is still reforming because the workers agree with the ideology of the leadership of the Union not to be used to settle scores as was the case in the past. He advised Dockworkers to be law abiding, to eschew violence, thuggery, gangsterism and corruption, even when he has served out his tenure. The PG reiterated that humility is an important ingredient in success, he charged members of the Group to put their hearts and souls in this arrangement to solidify it, even after the MoU has been signed. He however lamented that Truckers have suffered enough from those who are supposed to protect them and vowed that they are ready for anyone who is hell-bent on perpetrating this evil.
Giving his remarks, National President NARTO, Alh. Yusuf Uthman Lawal said he receives complaints daily about Trucks in Apapa, he said that this cooperation will take away some of the headaches and hiccups being experienced, ” this cooperation is watertight and at the end of the day all will be satisfied and happy with the Collaboration,” he enthused.
Com. Aloga Obgodo, General Secretary, NARTO, in his opening remarks observed that the industry may soon run out of Trucks if these ugly trend of extortion is not properly addressed. He said the Collaboration has come to stay in spite of the problems associated with the death of the first attempt at coming together which was derailed. He praised the PG MWUN for almost singlehandedly ensuring that this Collaboration thrived. ” He changed the face of Maritime Labour, I’m not surprised that he is Deputy National President of NLC,” Aloga said.
The NARTO General Secretary also had good words for the NAMTOP leadership for their vision as he said that the interest of Dockworkers and Drivers is the best thing that this Collaboration has achieved.
Thereafter, a formal inauguration of the BoT members and Management Team was done, after which the Leaders of each of the collaborating Unions signed the the MoU which crystalized the synergy and activated the consummation of the Collaboration.