…Insists Container owner must Pay Fines
The Oyo State Road Transport Management Authority has denied an allegation by the President, Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations that the agency has extorted money from a fallen truck owner.
OYRTMA said this in reaction to a publication making the rounds on social media alleging that the Agency demanded payment of N850,000.00 fine into a private account.
In a statement signed by the Agency’s Executive Chairman, Dr. Akin Fagbemi, on Friday, OYRTMA, described the publication as a distorted narration of events and spurious allegations that represents only a figment of the imagination of the writer.
In the said publication, one Adeyinka Aroyewun who was identified as National President of the Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA) was reported to have addressed a letter to His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde, Executive Governor of Oyo State raising insinuated allegations that OYRTMA demanded payment of the sum of Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira Only into a private account.
The Public may recall the uproar generated by the prolonged abandonment of a gigantic and fully loaded container along Efunsetan Roundabout, Challenge, Ibadan, the State Capital for over three weeks despite OYRTMA’s frantic efforts to evacuate the item considering the immense danger it posed to the environment and the motoring public. It may also be recalled that it took the intervention of the Government of Oyo State to prevail on the Police to allow us to remove the container after about three weeks of back and forth to conclude investigations into the road crash that resulted in the fallen container.
With the benefit of hindsight, the public may also recall that the Authority having obtained necessary cooperation with the Police and the Federal Road Safety Corps, swiftly moved to evacuate the container on 30th March 2023 in full public glare and with the services of hired privately owned crane and lowbed service providers from another State since such was not readily available in Ibadan as at the time.
Immediately after the evacuation exercise, on 31st March 2023, the owners of the container led by Alhaji Abdul-Mumeen had visited our Executive Chairman, Mogaji Akin Fagbemi to tender unreserved apologies to the people and Government of Oyo for their inability to swiftly resolve circumstances that debarred them from removing the container in due course. They regretted the inconveniences caused the motoring public and assured of their readiness to pay for the service charges incurred by the Authority in hiring the crane and lowbed service providers from another State as well as Official Fine of One-Million Naira issued by the State Government through OYRTMA for infractions of sections 16 (a,b,c,p) and 17 (d) of the Oyo State Road Traffic Management Authority Law 2009.
Fagbemi said, “In a twist of events, the aforementioned National President of the Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA), Adeyinka Aroyewun on Wednesday 12th April 2022 visited OYRTMA’s administrative headquarters in an attempt to influence the release of the container claiming he is a revered member and stalwart of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State and as such has a close personal relationship with the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde. He boasted that he will subsequently secure the release of the container without the payment of statutory fines and charges slammed against the owners’ ‘.
In his words, Mr. Aroyewun said: “it is shocking that with our plea and influence, this container is not released without fines. I will call the Governor myself and secure its release. Even in Lagos, we do these things, how much more Ibadan”.
In his immediate reaction, the OYRTMA Boss, Mogaji Akin Fagbemi had posited that there is no basis for comparison between Oyo State and any other State as Oyo represents the true PaceSetter State where there is absolute respect for law and order.
Fagbemi said the claims are not only laughable, it is clearly a well-orchestrated attempt to drag the reputable name of the Authority and Government in the mud by distorting facts in a bid to curry undeserved public sympathy after subjecting the lives and properties of the same general public to untold hardship and dire risks for over three weeks.
According to him, “no amount of intimidation or interference will stop the Authority from executing its constitutional responsibilities of ensuring safety on all roads in Oyo State and issuing fines to defaulting groups or individuals to serve as deterrent to others. If you so much love the public of whom sympathy you now seek, you would not have allowed your member to jeopardize the lives and properties of the people of Oyo State for such a long time.
As a matter of fact, you will not only pay Service Charges to the owners of the Crane and low-bed equipment used in removing the container, you will also pay the sum of One Million Naira Only as official fine for contravening sections 16 and 17 of the Oyo State Road Traffic Management Authority Law, 2009. In addition, you will pay in full for the damages caused to the body and properties of those innocent road users whose vehicles were damaged in crashes caused by the abandoned container. This is Oyo State. We have laws guiding us and our operations”, Fagbemi said.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, it had been reliably gathered that Mr. Aroyewun Adeyinka, National President, COMTUA, had under false pretense hoodwinked and obtained about N500,000.00 from owners of the container on the premise of his acclaimed proximity to the Governor and Politicians in Oyo State, giving false assurances to the owners on the possibility of securing release of the container without the payment of Government official fines for contravening extant road traffic laws of the State, constituting environmental hazard, melting untold hardship on commuters along the affected route and effecting the loss of productive hours that nearly paralyzed movement of economic activities for a period not less than three-weeks.