Truck drivers to enjoy better work environment, says AMATO

AMATO Chairman, Chief Remi Ogungbemi

Truck drivers and their assistants who operate under the Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) will henceforth enjoy the comfort of a convenient resting place during their break hours, rather than remain in their trucks all day.

The development is as a result of the association’s new secretariat close to the Apapa port gate, which has a large sitting area and fitted with conveniences for refreshment.

Chairman of AMATO, Chief Remi Ogungbemi, said in an interview that the new secretariat was part of efforts at sanitising the work environment that the truck drivers and their motor boys operate.

He noted that this category of workers had for long operated under very harsh conditions where they had to remain inside their trucks even during their break periods.

He said the unfriendly condition, especially for the motor boys, who had to remain on the streets while the drivers went into the port, was discomforting and dehumanising to them.

“The vision is to bring professionalism into the business, so that we will not continue to operate the way we had been doing over 40 years ago.

 “As you can see, presently, there are trucks queuing on the road for several days; the drivers of the trucks will not eat well, will not sleep well, they will not even take their bath.

“The motor boys are hanging around the port gate because there is a law forbidding them from going into the port with their drivers. So, they will remain under the sun, under the rain,” Ogungbemi said.

According to the AMATO Chairman, it is hoped that the initiative would help make today’s motor boy a better and more polite driver tomorrow, since they graduate into drivers after successfully serving the drivers.

He said that besides serving as a resting place for the drivers and their assistants, the secretariat would also enable them organise refresher trainings to get them more cautious while on the roads.

He said the association was also considering having the secretariat as a centre where the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC)could come and issue driver’s licences to their members for easy administration.

“We will be inviting the Vehicle Inspection Officers, the Federal Road Safety Corps here, so that they can come and train these people.

“It is also my wish that instead of truck drivers going to far distance to obtain their genuine license, we have been talking with the authorities of the FRSC, if they can allow a centre to be brought.

“The centre will be exclusively for truck drivers to be obtaining their driver’s licenses here, so that they will not go and patronise fakes, they will not have the challenges that some of them are having.

“So, we have these plans in place to create an enabling environment so that they will have a place to enjoy their work and for the upcoming generation of drivers too.”    

On the association’s quest to have Lilypond Container Terminal as a transit park, Ogungbemi said the association had yet received a reply to its letter written to the concessionaires of the terminal.

He said the association had requested for a portion of the terminal for trucks going to do business with AP Molar, while they also looked forward to a response from the Nigerian Ports Authority, as the landlord of the facility.