Why we suspended planned withdrawal of trucks services at Apapa port roads – Tanko

Why we suspended planned withdrawal of trucks services at Apapa port roads – Tanko

Committee Of Freight Forwarders and Maritime Truck Owners (COFFAMAT), has explained that the body was not forced to suspend ac­tions following the expiration of the 48-hour ultimatum to quit Apapa the Port access roads, handed down to the Presidential Taskforce man­ning the roads, rather, that it suspended action due to intel­ligence report received by the committee.

Recalled that worried by the alleged massive corruption, lack of Ease of Doing Business and the acute traffic gridlock going on at the Apapa Ports access roads, COFFAMAT, had threatened to force the Presi­dential Task Force controlling vehicular movement on the roads out of the ports’ axis.

The committee penultimate week gave the Presidential Task force 48-hour ultimatum to quit or face withdrawal of trucks and services at the La­gos seaports.

Speaking in an exclusive in­terview with Saturday INDE­PENDENT on the outcome of the ultimatum, Alhaji Ibrahim Tanko said that intelligence gathering revealed that hood­lums planned to hijack their action and cause mayhem in Lagos.

Tanko, the National Coor­dinator of 100% compliance team of the National Associa­tion of Government Approved Freight forwarders (NAGAFF) said: “Concerning the 48-hour ultimatum issued penultimate week, we later found out that there was a gang-up from some persons whom we don’t know. I gathered that they intend to capitalize on our planned with­drawal of services, if the task force did not comply with our ultimatum to ferment trouble and cause confusion in the state.

“If you look at what hap­pened during the end SARS protests, that was exactly what they intended to do from our investigation. So we decided to write letters to key places like the office of the Vice President, the Minister of Transpor­tation, Director of the NPA, Shippers Council, Chairman Board members, Commis­sioner of Police, Lagos State and that Executive Governor of Lagos State.

“As I am talking to you, those letters we have sent out, we itemised our intention and reasons for taking the step we took. Some of them have start­ed inviting us for dialogue.

“The Lagos State Governor called us for a meeting last week. The meeting was post­poned to Wednesday. The Di­rector of NPA has invited us for a meeting. As we are talking the meeting is going on there. My Chief of Staff represented me. We have invitation from the office of the Vice President. We will respond to the invita­tion which we are planning to attend next week. So the is­sue of the online news I read saying that NAGAFF stopped the action is wrong,” Tanko asserted.

He said NAGAFF was not the only body involved in the action, adding that the planned withdrawal of services in­volved a committee of freight forwarders and maritime truck owners.

“Even the freight forward­ers are not only NAGAFF members. It encompasses of others.

“We have five accredited freighforwarding associations. NAGAFF is only one. The news I read, I so much doubt that it was my President that made that comment. I have much doubt and did not agree it was my president. He must have been quoted out of con­text.

“This is because NAGAFF is one family, we do everything together. There is nothing I do without his consent. I sent him letters, I made phone calls to him, even the visit to the Gover­nor, we did it together. So how would I agree that our Pres­ident was calling us names. I know my President. What I am doing is for the interest of freight forwarders. Everybody knows what is happening with Apapa access roads, it is not hidden. I owned three trailers. I am a freight forwarder. So I know exactly what is happen­ing.

“Where we are charging N50,000 to N60,000 before is now N600,000 to N800,000. If you ask truck drivers and owners, they will tell you where they are spending that money.

“The 48 hours ultimatum we issued, nobody asked us to suspend it. We had intelli­gence report, so we suspended it and commenced meeting the stakeholders. I believe through this meeting, we will achieve a lot,” the NAGAFF Chieftain enthused.

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