…Incident ‘hush-hushed’, AMATO, NPA MD totally in the dark, 10 days after!***
A poor widow, a wife of the driver has been totally abandoned, after her husband, a driver, popularly called Akeem, allegedly drowned at a Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) licensed badging facility, while on ‘Active Service’. at Apapa.
The driver was said to be inside a truck, loaded with two containers, in the course of his job, while entering the facility near a flour mill (name withheld), for a normal discharge.
But, Akeem was also said to have protested the haphazardly positioning of things at the facility, but was allegedly prevailed upon, to go ahead, and drive through, because that was how it was, when others, performed the same function.
Alas! Things went awry, the truck catapulted off the badge, straight into the lagoon, with Akeem and the two trucks.
An eyewitness who pleaded for anonymity said Akeem could have been saved, if there was a diver around since people normally do not drown until they have resurfaced like two or three times.
“We don’t know whether or not NPA gives them any safety standards or requirements before licensing them. All we know is that the NPA doesn’t enforce anything. You know the Nigerian factors! You just license, the people do the needful and then, it is business as usual!”, the eye witness told the Maritime First, noting that the badging centre has neither fire fighting equipment nor, divers
It was further learnt that the poor driver was later fished out several hours later, somewhere around the Liverpool waters, stone dead .
Efforts by the Maritime First to unravel how the incident that occurred on Saturday 13th February, around 17.26hours however met brick wall, as nobody, including those in NPA was willing to speak on it.
The only thing that unearthed was that Akeem’s widow has been abandoned. It was further learnt that the news of Akeem was first hidden from her until curiosity got the better part of her; and she ventured beyond listening to stories since the truck driver’s phone was suddenly switched off.
When the Chairman, Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO) Chief Remi Ogungbemi was contacted on Sunday February 21, he requested that discussion be delayed till Monday. On Monday, he said he was going to visit Akeem’s family on Tuesday; and until then, he would not be too inclined to talk.
When the plight of the widow’s abandonment was brought to the attention of the Managing Director, NPA, Ms Hadiza Bala Usman, the good woman, said she was hearing it for the first time, and pledged to leave no stone unturned, to ensure Akeem’s widow would not unjustly suffer.
“I am not aware of this incident…Thank you for drawing my attention to it”, observed Hadiza Bala Usman, promising to intervene in the family’s interest.
One thing is certain: heads may not roll over this incident, but Akeem’s family may no longer, suffer unjustly!