Operators of the electronic truck call-up system, Truck Transit Park, TTP, have alleged that illegal trading of access tickets by some companies to truckers as well as activities of non-state actors along the Mile 2-Tin-can port axis are the major causes of the gridlock currently being witnessed along that route.
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard in Lagos, Head of Operations, TTP, Irabor Akonoman, said that they have, on several occasions, caught commercial truckers with access tickets issued to companies operating in the ports, indicating that the tickets were illegally obtained and transferred to trucks that should not be on the roads.
Irabor noted that some of the drivers apprehended were taken to Police stations but were later released following interventions from those companies involved and the charges against the arrested drivers were dropped.
He stated that some of the discrepancies faced at the ports that elicited claims of forgery are a misunderstanding, explaining that third-party re-sale has fuelled the perception that tickets being issued at the terminal are not foolproof.
However, because of the laxity in scrutiny at the terminals, trucks that re-buy or re-sell are not apprehended. He further stated that every ticket detail is contained in a database which is cross-checked by a handheld tab when the truck owners present their tickets.
He stated that a major barrier in effectively fishing out illegal dealers of these tickets is that the trucks have no plate numbers with which they can be tracked and the owners do not possess documents for truck identification, thus making it a herculean task pinpointing infringers.
He also said that even when these defaulters are caught and are about to be prosecuted, they end up settling outside the court and evading prosecution.
According to Akonoman, contrary to claims that their tickets are being counterfeited, they have a system that makes it difficult for any counterfeiting to take place.
He said: “None of our tickets can be counterfeited; it can only be re-sold to somebody who did not originally book it. There is no ticket that opens the three gates that is a counterfeit. What can happen is that when you actually book a genuine ticket with your truck and instead of you going with that truck, you hand your original ticket to another truck, and then that truck is now masquerading as your truck.”