Trucks Transit Park Nigeria Limited, the firm managing the electronic truck call-up system also known as Eto has raised alarm that some persons are out to sabotage the system by openly destroying infrastructure meant to ease the protracted gridlock on the port access roads.
The electronic truck call-up system was introduced by Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in February 2021 to manage the movement of trucks around the port corridors in Apapa.
TTP spokesperson, Toni Anne Uwaifo, in a statement made available to Maritime Today Online, said a truck driver deliberately rammed into the access barrier at the Abuja exit gate of Tin can Island port in an attempt to frustrate vehicular movement within the corridor.
She said while the truck driver claimed his brakes failed, in a video seen after the incident, he is clearly seen driving the truck steadily and in control.
Uwaifo added that several touts and area boys who pass trucks at night through the exit gate have openly threatened TTP staff in the past and told them they will destroy the barrier as it stops them from having thoroughfare exit from the Tin Can Island port.
“Prior to the deployment of this system, the Nigerian Ports Authority and Trucks Transit Parks Limited, technology company and owners of the ètò solution had carried out sensitisation campaign since October 2020 on how the system works, how it will create more opportunities for truck transporters and ultimately improve Nigeria’s economy. Yet, touts and some malicious elements continue to try to sabotage the ètò system.
“In a video obtained by us, a Caterpillar truck driver on Tuesday, 12th October, deliberately rammed into the access barrier at the Abuja exit gate of Tincan Island port.
“The driver claimed his brakes had failed. However, in the video after the accident, he is clearly seen driving the truck steadily and in control.
“Another interesting fact from the video is that this caterpillar truck driver approached the barrier from the side of the barrier, not in front or from behind, he drove from the side, a rather awkward angle.
“Interestingly, the caterpillar truck does not proceed towards the concrete fence just beyond the barrier, a fact that would be evident if it was indeed a case of a failed braking system.
“We gathered from TTP staff on ground at the exit gates that several touts had been threatening to pull down the barrier just so they could carry out their illegal activities of entry and exit into the ports without ètò call-up,” she said.
While warning against the destruction of e-call up facilities, Uwaifo said the caterpillar truck driver has been apprehended and handed over to the Nigerian police.
“The open sabotage of the call-up system is a sad development and a stark reminder of how rife corruption is in our society.
“The NPA and TTP will continue to sensitise the public on why the electronic call-up system is a viable solution for tackling the Apapa gridlock,” she said.