A coalition of truck operators under the aegis of Joint Council of Seaport Truckers (JCOST) have declared an indefinite nationwide strike as a result of the Lagos State directive banishing dry cargo trucks to operating in the night.
Recall that the Lagos state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode had on Monday directed that all dry cargoes within the state should restrict their movement between 6am and 9pm everyday as s result of the incessant falling of trucks on the highways.
Rising from a joint meeting yesterday, the Chairman of JCOST, Mr. Kayode Odunowo said that members have decided to withdraw their services because the Lagos state directive would not only expose their members to dangers but would also not be comfortable for them to load their trucks in the night.
JCOST is a fusion of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Truck Terminal Users Association, Truck Drivers Unit (TDU) of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO).
The chairman JCOST who doubles as the Deputy State Chairman of NARTO said that the strike was inevitable as all plea with the Permanent Secretary fell on deaf ears during a meeting recently.
“I think you are all aware of the latest development on Lagos roads and. The pronouncement of the Lagos state government that container carrying trucks should not ply the roads between 6am and 9pm.
“Yesterday(Monday), we went to Ikeja to see the PS (Permanent Secretary), we held a meeting with him and told him the implications behind all those decisions and he said there was nothing he could do and that the decision was final.
“So, after all said and done,I asked him personally what is going to be the effect if we are not working between 6am and 9pm. I told him it is not possible for us to load containers in the night. Even when we load during the day, they still burgle our trucks,” he stated.
Chief Remi Ogungbesan, chairman of AMATO while speaking, said government was part of the factors responsible for falling of trucks on the highway even as he said that the state of the roads were not good for vehicles to move safely.
Ogungbemi pointed out that the government has failed to play its own role by providing suitable roads for their trucks to move and therefore should lay the entire blame on the truck drivers alone.
He added that the recent container that fell at Ojuelegba could be as a result of the state of the bridge because according to him, the bridge is tilted and could have caused the falling of the container.
Speaking further, the AMATO chairman said the terminal operators too have not being doing enough in the area of providing necessary equipment to make sure that the trucks are well loaded and to even certify trucks suitable for carrying certain weight of goods.
“Today, the coalition of truck operators within the state that also represents other truck operators across the nation have resolved in today’s meeting that we are not fighting government because the government is our government and it is our wish and prayer both the state and federal government will succeed and anyone who loves the government will not do anything that will have a negative effect on the government.
“But as a result of the policy that the state government has decided to start implementing as regards the movement of trucks within the state so we have decided to withdraw our services until when the environment is conducive for us to operate.
“As I speak, our intention formerly was to mellow down and see how things unfold but as I speak, we have started seeing sporadically some uniform men in military unif