The truck owners were protesting the restriction placed on the trucks.
The Truck Owners Association of Nigeria, TOAN, in their hundreds on Tuesday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, caused gridlock on the popular and busy Moshood Abiola Way.
The truck owners were protesting against government orders restricting the movement of their trucks and trailers.
The protesters were joined by their colleagues belonging to the Association of Granite Suppliers and Haulers, National Union of Road Transport Workers (Heavy Truck Section) and the First Nigeria Tipper and Lorry Drivers Association.
The aggrieved protesters sang protest songs demanding that the Governor of the State, Ibikunle Amosun, released the 13 trucks belonging to their members seized by the agents of the state government.
The protesters further claimed to have lost about N750 million since the restriction order took effect last Saturday; hence, they asked that the restriction be lifted.
The trucks were banned from moving between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on major roads daily.
To quell the protest, the Ogun State Police Command deployed its men to the area of protest in two pick-up vans.
Officials of the four associations, at a joint press conference, urged their members to be patient and allow them negotiate with the state government on the restriction.
Isiaka Ajetunmobi, who spoke on behalf of the officials, said that they would continue to dialogue with the state government on the matter.
He called on the government to release the trucks already seized from their members.
“We have told them to release all our vehicles seized because we cannot pay and the road they said they built for us is not that good yet. So, the vehicles have no alternative routes. We know that
they will still adjust the restriction time; we are just appealing to our members.
“They said we should pay N30, 000 fine on each of the vehicles but we pleaded that they should allow us to pay N10, 000 on each of them. But our members say they would not agree with that’.
“Regarding the restriction time, our members are of the opinion that those they supply might ask them to do that anytime, so how would they manage that if we cannot move from 1pm to 8.00pm? That is our problem now. We are still pleading with our governor to reconsider the matter. We know he means well for Ogun State regarding the expansion of our roads,” said Mr. Ajetunmobi.
Other officials in attendance include TOAN General Secretary, Fatai Olatunji; the President of the Association of Granite Suppliers and Haulers, Lekan Adegun; NURTW National Financial Secretary, Jimoh Ajagbe; and Chairman of the First Nigeria Tipper and Lorry Drivers Association, Kolawole Ezekiel.
In reaction, the State Government said it has reviewed the restriction order placed on the movement of trailers, trucks and other articulated vehicles weighing 20 tons and above and plying major roads in Abeokuta.
The state government said the trucks are now free to move between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. as well as between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily.
The Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, made this known during a meeting with members of the Associations of Granite Suppliers, Truck Owners and the National Union of Road Transport Workers.
He said the decision to review the restriction order is a response to the demand of the associations.
“From this moment, the Governor has approved a 4-hour window for you from 9am to 1pm. As a listening government, we cannot ignore your pleas. Please take advantage of that indulgence responsibly and ensure strict compliance by your members”, the official said.
The government, however, warned the drivers to ensure strict compliance with the new order, saying that it would not hesitate to visit the full weight of the law on any driver caught contravening it.