Lagos – The General Manager, Western Ports, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Micheal Ajayi on Tuesday said the organisation remained undaunted in certification of trucks entering the ports to reduce accidents caused by rickety trucks.
Ajayi stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos against the backdrop of the strike action embarked upon by some truck owners since Monday.
The striking truck operators resisted the N10,000 Vehicle Entry Permit charged by the authority.
The Vehicle Entry Permit took effect from Monday.
The general manager said that the N10,000 allowed the each truck multiple entry into the Tin-Can Island port and the Lagos Port Complex
(LPC), saying that the proceeds would go into the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
When NAN visited the LPC (Apapa port), normal activities were ongoing with road-worthy trucks going in and coming out of the port.
Ajayi explained that NPA was charging the truck operators because it maintained common-user facility, the roads and other infrastructure at the ports.
“Money would be requited to put the infrastructure in good state which would benefit not only the truck users but other port users.
“From my own observation, it is not that the N10,000 is too much for the truck operators which amount to N27,000 per day.
“ What is a pain to them is the cost of putting their rickety vehicles in order before they pay to meet the minimum standard.
“If the trucks are not in order, there is no need to pay because the trucks cannot be certified.
He said that payment of the Vehicle Entry Permit was not automatic, adding that the permit could only be given after due certification of the road-worthiness of a truck.
Ajayi told NAN that the certification became necessary because the organisation wanted to get rid of rickety vehicles entering the ports.
“The rickety vehicles had constituted hazard to the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians
“Many at times, these trucks fell on cars and crushed the owners. Several lives had been lost through such accidents.
“So, the check on rickety vehicles should start at the ports where they go on daily basis to do business,’’ NAN quotes Ajayi as saying.
According to him, the argument by the truck operators that what NPA is charging them has been embedded in the Terminal Operators (TOs) bills was illogical.
The general manager told NAN that some concessionaires and even terminal operators had complied and their trucks had been certified.
Ajayi said that many corporate independent fleet owners had been registered.
He said, “ SIFAX owned by Ports and Cargo has paid; Greenview Development Ltd. Owned by Dangote has paid; ENL Consortium has complied; and Apapa Bulk Terminal has also complied.’’ (NAN)