Truckers operating in the country’s maritime industry have blamed the hostile business environment in Lagos State for the constant road crashes involving trucks in the state.
The truckers in a separate chat with media source recently said they pay a minimum of N30,000 to hooligans in Lagos before they can be allowed to change a flat tyre on the road.
The Secretary General of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, Aloga Ogbogo, said that most times truck drivers were forced by these hooligans to apply the automatic brakes, which sometimes results in road accidents.
“Sometimes the activities of these ‘areas boys’ who stop moving trucks because they want to collect money. They will distract the driver, attack him and make him lose concentration. The issue of these ‘areas boys’ harassing and distracting drivers, Lagos State Government should put mechanisms in place to checkmate this. If a truck does not meet the minimum standard at the point of entry and there are checklists, if it doesn’t meet the checklist, it may not be out of place to allow it for some time.”
Also speaking, a chieftain of NARTO, Abdullahi Inuwa, said, the activities of these hooligans make it difficult for the drivers to give attention to these trucks when the need arises.
He said, “A truck may develop mechanical faults while on transit that may warrant it to park to ascertain the cause. But because of the activities of these ‘area boys’, the moment the driver stopped even if it is to change a flat tyre, the ‘area boy’ will bounce on him.
“They may first beat the driver and collect money ranging from N20 000 to N30,000 before they would allow a mechanic or whoever is concerned to start detecting what is wrong with the truck.
“And if the driver was not lucky, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority officials would come and tow the truck.
“And at the end of the day, they will come out with tickets ranging from N150,000 to N200,000. So, because of that fear, even if the driver detected a fault in his truck, he would insist on getting to a better place before he would park to repair it and on his way anything may happen.”