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Truck owners decry undue extortion of money by hoodlums, road traffic regulators

The
Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) has decried the subjection of
members to “undue extortion of money by hoodlums and road traffic
regulators’’, saying that it is making their business unprofitable.

The Chairman
of the association, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, made this known in an interview with
the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
Ogungbemi
said that in spite of the huge investment members of the association were
making in the business, the truck owners were running at loss.
“The
challenges that are confronting the truck operators in maritime industry are
enormous.
“They are
no longer breaking even. The amount they are putting in into the business is
more than what they are receiving back from the business.
“Put in
N20,000, what comes back to you could be zero, because there are so many
encumbrances that are militating against the survival and the stability of the
business.
“Among
the challenges are extortion by different traffic regulators; extortion even
within the cities.
“If
trucks take goods, containers to any area within Lagos metropolis; you will see
people hanging up saying ‘ah come and give us money’.
“And if
they do not give money, they will cause damages.
“At
times, they beat up the drivers, collect the money from the driver, collect the
phone from the driver.
“Even if
a truck has a flat tyre along the road, before the driver can change the tyre,
you see people coming out to say ` no, before you change that your tyre give us
money’.
“They
will seize the jerk, seize the extra tyre that you want to replace until he
comes out with some money before he can change the extra tyre.’’
The
chairman said that the situation was making it difficult for truck owners to
maintain their trucks regularly.
According
to him, the drivers of the trucks are often aggressive to members of the public
because they are always fatigued.

Ogungbemi
said the truck owners were forced to buy sub-standard spare parts and
sub-standard lubricants for their trucks since those were  the available ones they could access.

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