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Shippers’ Council, NPA’s intervention halts truck owners’ strike at Lagos ports

Hassan Bello

. Shipping firms, terminal operators risk sanctions
Sequel to the intervention of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the truck owners and driver have suspended their six day old strike at Lagos ports.

The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, NSC, Hassan Bello, Thursday, pleaded with the Nigerian association of road transport owners (NARTO), to call off their strike, just as the NPA said it has launched an investigation into the grievances of the workers.The State Chairman, Dry Cargo Section of NARTO, Inuwa Abdullah, confirmed to The Guardian yesterday that strike has been suspended and members have started lifting containers.

Recall that AMATO begun an industrial action six days ago, over an alleged extortion and brutality by military personnel controlling traffic around the Apapa area.As a result, business activities around the Tincan Island Port, and Apapa Port suffered setback, just as cargo congestion build up at the terminals.

Bello noted that in today’s labour movement, strikes have become an aberration, which neither help the economy nor boost corporate or individual businesses, even as he promised to convey their grievances to the appropriate authorities.He said dialogue and well structured engagement bring about better solutions, and enjoined NARTO members to call off the strike and come to a roundtable for a win-win situation.

The NPA on its part said in a statement that it is investigating “allegations of extortion by officials of the Nigerian Navy, the Nigeria Police Force, and NPA security personnel by the truck drivers with assurances that culprits will be made to face the laws of the country.It appealled to stakeholders to give chance for a peaceful resolution of the issues at stake, while also looking into the reported failure of agreements on the usage of holding bays reached in November 2017.

The Assistant General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA, Isah Suwaid, said the investigation is to determine “…the level of compliance or non-compliance to agreements reached between the Authority, Shipping Companies, and Terminal Operators on the immediate use of holding bays for trucks and containers until such trucks were called into the ports through the call-up system adopted in November 2017. Any company found to have contravened this agreement will be sanctioned.”

Some of the issues raised by the protesting drivers include “the operation of the call-up system introduced by the Authority as part of our traffic management strategy; alleged extortion by security agencies; and the utilisation of holding bays by shipping companies and terminal operators as defined in an agreement in November, 2017.

Members of AMATO, and the National Association of Truck Owners (NARTO), had a meeting with the Secretary to the Federal Government on Monday, followed by another meeting with the management of NSC and NPA, to find a lasting solution to the crises, especially the issue of extortion and manual call up.

Source: G Business

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