BY GBOGBOWA GBOWA
The seven founding groups of the defunct Council of Maritime Truck Associations and Unions (COMTUA) has alerted Security Agencies and Maritime Stakeholders to be beware of scammers parading as representatives of COMTUA, noting that the group has been dissolved; and that whoever does any business with anyone on behalf of the defunct does so at his own risk.
COMTUA was established in 2019 by various industry groups comprising of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Nigerian Association of Road transport (NARTO), Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Container Truck Owners Association of Nigeria (COTOAN) and Amalgamation of Containers Truck Owners Association of Nigeria (ACTOAN); as a common front to tackle the menace of the then gripping Apapa traffic gridlock.
The Founding members urged the general public to treat anyone who parades himself as executive of the defunct body as impostor and scammer, and to report such person or persons to the police or other security agencies.
Above position was advanced on Monday in Apapa Lagos as the Founders signed-off the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to put an end to the existence of the body.
Speaking at the sign-off ceremony, COMTUA Founding President, Comrade Thomson Olaleye said that the body ceased to exist with effect from 31st July, 2023.
“Consequently the freedom to associate, under which COMTUA was formed, has ceased upon the termination of the MoU and the body hitherto called COMTUA has died with effect from the day the consenting parties signed it off.
“Our meeting today is to let the whole world know that there is nothing like COMTUA anymore, and whoever still parades himself or any group of people claiming to be COMTUA is illegally doing so.
“We are today, notifying all Government agencies , including security agencies to be aware, take note and stop dealing with anyone who still parades in such capacity”, adding:
“We specifically call on relevant arm of security agencies to arrest and deal with any such person decisively.”
On the group’s decision to collapse the Council, Comrade Olaleye said COMTUA has served and also outlived its purpose. He further explained that the derailment of the new executive eight months after its inauguration, prompted withdrawal of some prominent members like Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), followed by Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO).
“There is no doubt that COMTUA contributed its quota to the enthronement of orderliness in vehicular traffic in Apapa.’
“Even though the thinking among most of the collaborating unions was that there was no need for COMTUA any longer, we nevertheless still conducted an adhoc election which produced Mr Yinka Aroyewun as an Interim President, pending the approval of the foundation members of COMTUA on the future of COMTUA.
“The approval never came, and sadly rather than build on the good legacies of the foundation members, the Aroyewun one-man interim leadership bastardised COMTUA, and in the process lost the respect of stakeholders in the maritime industry.
“Under the temporary headship of Mr Aroyewun, COMTUA lost all its respect, it derailed from the objectives that led to its formation.”
Explaining the exigency of shutting down the group, Olaleye said the purpose driven objective for the formation of COMTUA is already been abused to the extent of using the group as means to exploitation and illegal rent seeking; hence the need to dissolve the body.
“COMTUA became an instrument of blackmail and ill-conceived petitions. We were devastated, because notable industry stakeholders no longer see COMTUA as partners in progress. Nobody was willing to associate with anything that has to do with COMTUA any longer.
“Apparently worried these string of misdemeanors, the founding fathers of COMTUA consequently called for an emergency meeting which held on the 20th of July, 2023.
“At this very important meeting, it was unanimously agreed through voting, that COMTUA should be scrapped.”
While responding, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju who was the first joint Board of Trustees Chairman, stated that union would go to sleep with two eyes closed following the dissolution of COMTUA.
According to him, COMTUA has achieved the purpose of its creation noting that MWUN will continue to have the interest of the port industry at heart.
Also speaking, Stephen Okafor, former Deputy President of the defunct group of truckers maintained that a letter will emanate from the founding fathers to inform the bank on COMTUA dissolution and outright freezing of accounts.
Similarly, the former financial secretary of COMTUA Mrs. Folake George reiterated that the former council’s bank account will be frozen immediately following the dissolution by MoU.
The major highlight of the occasion was signing of the dissolution letter by the seven founding associations and unions.