Truck owners, under the aegis of Amalgamation of Container Truck Owners Association of Nigeria (CACTOAN), have cried out over the outrageous charges of the Lagos State government towing operators in Apapa ports.
A letter written to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, sighted by The Guardian, said the outrageous billings of the state towing operators were far higher than that of private operators, thereby threatening the survival of their business.
The letter signed by Ridwan Bello alleged that the state operators do not allow truck owners to patronise private operators whenever their trucks break down, forcing them to pay exorbitant charges.
He stated: “The economic losses that we are suffering on a daily basis are so enormous to the extent that we can no longer meet our financial exigencies and sustain our businesses due to the outrageous non-receipted bills and fines being imposed on us under the pretext of removing our broken down trucks from the road by the state towing actors.
“Imposing a bill of N150, 000 and above, by towing operators for towing a broken down truck between the distance of 200 to 1,000 metres from the road is not only outrageous and lacking a human face, but injurious to the survival of our business.
“In contrast to the outrageous charge of the Lagos State Towing actors, the services of Private Towing Truck Operators are very moderate. And where we engage the service of Private Towing Operators, the state actors in most cases prevent them from removing our broken down trucks, even if the private tow truck is parking beside our broken down truck,” he said.
The group said: “Sincerely, we agree totally that any truck that breaks down must be immediately removed, lest it impedes traffic or causes an accident that could claim life or property. But the rates of the state actors are exorbitant.”
The truck owners urged the state government to allow them to devise a quick and seamless method of removing their broken-down trucks themselves from the road without rancour.
“We look forward to the approval of our request by the Lagos State Government as we have devised a quick and seamless method of removing our broken down trucks by ourselves from the road without rancour and much stress, just as stated in our previous letter that we are fully ready to commence the exercise by ourselves in collaboration with the body of Towing Truck Association,” it stated.