Chief Michael Ajayi is the General Manager, Western Ports, NPA Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). In this phone interview with TRANSPORT & MARITIME ONLINE, he explained the minimum entry policy and what he intends to achieve with the policy.
It is better to push them (trucks) out of business than allowing them to kill people on the road. Do you think we should tolerate moving corpses on the road and endanger the life of commuters and road users. Which one is better?
Truck owners alleged that they are not aware of shift in implementation date of the entry permit policy. What are you doing to sensitize them on the new policy?
It is the registration we ask them to come and do that they back out so if they should register and they give us their address, we will write them so if you are not registered with us and we don’t know you how do we write you? What am saying is that most of this truck drivers are unknown to us and until you are registered with us and we have your details the we can send SMS to you so those that are registered with us are already aware and it is an information already in public domain.
What exactly are you asking the truck drivers to do?
It is entry permit that we ask them to do and not standardization because standardization inspection is free.
When they inspect your vehicle and its okay then we give you paper to pay entry permit.
It is that entry permit that you will use to enter the port to do business just like going into local or international airport, you will pay to enter FAAN premises.
Don’t you think truckers are against this because the policy will push them out of job?
It is better to push them (trucks) out of business than allowing them to kill people on the road. Do you think we should tolerate moving corpses on the road and endanger the life of commuters and road users. Which one is better? Recently, five people were killed at Ojuelegba for no just cause. Container fell on them and they died an untimely death for no cause of them.
What palliative measures is NPA putting in place to help the drivers?
Are they registered with NPA. They should know that if they are serious about this business, they should form a group and approach the bank because there is nothing NPA can do because they are not the bank. NPA is not bank to lend money to people or association.
There is Bank of Industry (BOI) so if they form an association or cooperative group and approach them for loan they will be given.
Look at the way BRT was organised, some people form consortium, met with the bank and they were given loans.
Look at the new buses bought for your information, some leaders of these unions do not have trucks of their own and they extort their members.
That is not our concerns, our concerns is that we will not tolerate rickety vehicle in the port again we are tired of being blackmail that NPA was responsible for accident on the road because if you are coming to the port for business, your vehicle must be sound because you are coming to the port to pick goods that is heavy.
Will NPA serve as guarantee whenever they seek loan?
We will not serve as guarantee because that is not our business, they should have enough collateral to do that.