The Council Of Maritime Transport Unions And Associations (COMTUA) has cried out to the government and relevant authorities to come to the aid of its members and address the criminal extortion and activities of some touts that position themselves along port access roads and major highways in Lagos state, saying the activities of the people is killing the maritime transport industry.
The national president of the association, Prince Adeyinka T. Aroyewun made this call in statement issued on Monday which was also obtained by Transportationplusng. He alleged that the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) alone is collecting minimum of N2, 000 in about 20 different spots from trucks along the port access road, saying their activities is illegal.
In the statement tittled “EXTORTION, VANDALISM, HARRASSMENT AND KILLING OF TRUCKERS; A CALL FOR URGENT INTERVENTION OF GOVERNMENT AND ITS AGENCIES”, the president also alleged that the Oniba of Iba, HRH Sulaimon Adeshina is also encouraging his committee to create more spots to extort truckers.
Aroyehun lamented that touts have openly said they have government backing. He said the association has sent petitions to the state government at different level to call the boys to order but the government has not done anything, noting that the body language of the Government is only a confirmation of the claim of the touts that they have backing of the Government and that they work in absolute connivance.
The statement reads in part: “It is with deep frustration that we write to highlight and bring to your notice, the excruciating torture, daily extortion and destruction of trucks our members face in the hands of touts who position along port access roads and major highways in Lagos.
To say the least, it is as sad to note that this brazen illegality continues in broad day light without any modicum of check. In the face of all these nauseating experiences, we have remained law-abiding: instead of resorting to violence, we have made several petitions and official letters to Government (at different levels) bidding to have relevant Government Authorities call the miscreants to order, all to no avail as all our entreaties are not attended to. Truly, the body language of the Government is only a confirmation of the claim of the touts that they have backing of the Government and that they work in absolute connivance.
To imagine the miscreants bragging openly that nobody and no Government can stop them, that they own the Government and that Yoruba land is theirs – as such – that anyone who is unwilling to comply should leave or cease to exist in Lagos, moreso, that they are card-carrying members of the ruling Party, only leaves any rational being to query if the Government functions to encourage and support illegality and criminals who openly act against established law and order in the State.
Letters of complaint and consultation to Park and Garages Committee, Park Administration Committee and Maritime Workers’ Union ( MWUN) on the activities of their members also – at best -fell on deaf ears as non-yielded results.
Instead of applying civility, they resort to most provocative affront as these groups, in conivance with Government Agencies, increases dues and extortion points.
To be specific, Maritime Workers Union ( MWUN) have 20 points from Coconut to Tincan Port Second gate where NGN2,000 is forcefully collected per point from our members. This is under the watch of Comrade Adewale Adeyanju (The president General) whose main coordinator is Taofeek Shorinola (Also known as and called) Sheu Tao. They injure and sometimes kill our members for non-compliance to the extortion.
Park and Garages has, Abayomi Abeyi Ajele (Also Known As and called) Ikomodina, Michael Adewale (Also Known As and called) Hot water and one Raji (Also known As and called) “Student mount” – in all – 30 extortion points between mile 2 and Sunrise where between N2,000 and N6,000 are forcefully collected per point: chiboy, Adeleke and others are for park Administrator to collect around Kirikiri, FATGBEMS, Badagry Express Road and inside Amuwo Odofin.
Of another serious concern is the involvement of a Royal father, The Oniba of Iba Land HRH Sulaimon Adeshina, who encourages his committee member to create more points of extortion.
The role of Government is suspectable in this societal vice and this is of grave concern to our association.
These pipes and other weapon-wielding boys on roads leading to ports and parts of the highway are daily on rampage yet, the Government feels unperturbed.
The claim that they are members of the ruling Party in the State and therefore are at liberty to commit crimes should be a cause worry and concern for this government enough if they are not in convince.
Most disturbing is that TTP continues monetary collections without considering hardship truckers face in the hand of this hoodlum.
We are deeply troubled as our members are injured and killed by these criminals daily without any concerns from authorities and this is totally unacceptable especially as our members are living in very hard times due to poor return per trip and debts which is given impetus by this ugly state of affair.
The Maritime Transport industry is dying, in view that our members have been pushed to the wall, in view that this potends grave danger that may result to untoward offensive reaction, we have deemed it necessary to use the medium of this press release to, for the umpteenth time, call on relevant authorities to address the criminal extortion and activities of these touts against our members, knowing well that it is illegal.
All should be reminded that no group has a monopoly of violence and aggression because we have been pushed to the wall.
Sincerely yours- F
or : Council Of Maritime Transport Unions And Associations (COMTUA ).
Prince Adeyinka T. Aroyewun
But while reacting to the allegations in the statement, the Public Relation Officer of MWUN, Mr. Erazua Oniha said the allegation that MWUN is collecting money in 20 illegal check points does not hold water, saying the association is only trying to tarnish its image.
He said “COMTUA has been trying to tarnish our image since we pulled out of the Union. COMTUA is a brainchild of all Maritime Union. It is a child of necessity which was to mitigate the problems bedeviling the Unions and their members but unfortunately they went against the tenets, which was why the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and some other Union’s pulled out of COMTUA and because of that, they have been trying to tarnish our image”.
“They wrote us to say that our haulage branch is mounting illegal road blocks, we discovered that this was completely false. Yes, our constitution permits the haulage branch to ticket trucks within zones inside the ports, but anything outside the ports is not from our members, so it’s false,” Oniha stated.
Oniha added that COMTUA’s accusation of treating their letter with disdain is not true, saying MWUN received the association’s letter and responded appropriately. While refuting the allegation of collaborating with Lagos Parks and Garages Committee, Oniha said MWUN is even at war with the committee because they attacked, maimed and killed 4 of the union’s members at Tin can Port for which after settlement they were asked to pay compensation to the victims, including burying those who were killed.
“How can we now collaborate with them? So you can see their claims are frivolous and this is coming up because we left COMTUA,” Comrade Oniha stated”, Oniha said.