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About 1000 Nigerian drivers protest invasion of haulage business by Chinese

More than 700 dump drivers from Akwa Ibom and Cross River States on Wednesday protested over the invasion of the haulage business in both states by foreigners.
The drivers protested under the auspices of Dump Drivers Association and was lead by its National Chairman, Michael Asuquo.The protesters carried various placards and protested the invasion of their business by the foreign nationals at the Odukpani Junction in Calabar.

The protesting dump drivers particularly accused the management of Sterling Oil and Gas of deceiving members of the association by making them take loans to acquire 250 trucks before abandoning them.

“The essence of or peaceful demonstration is on the account of foreigners coming to take over our business.

“We are here to tell Nigerians that enough is enough, that our people should rise up and support us, that the Chinese and Indians are coming to take over haulage activities in Cross River and Akwa Ibom.

“Sterling Oil and Gas are in Nigeria for Oil and Gas activities but today they have gone to import over 400 trucks, after deceiving us to take loans from banks and buy trucks and after two months of operation they just stopped us without notice and the following week they brought in 400 or more trucks to take over haulage activities.

“There was an understanding that we were going to handle their haulage activities and after they gave us the commitment to acquire 250 trucks they came up overnight and asked us to stop working and brought in 400 trucks to handle hauling of granite.

“The laws are there and we are asking that the law should take its course.

“We have taken loans from commercial banks and for the past four months we have not been in business.

“We have lost over a billion monthly since this started and we are also paying back bank loans.

“The nearest axle loads is between sixty to eighty tonnes but as I speak to you they are running with 120 to 140 tonnes, spoiling our roads and refusing to pay taxes”, he said.

He added that they are calling on the state and federal government to please put a stop to foreigners who are invading haulage activities because we have a lot of capacity.

Also speaking, Dafe Anene, Vice Chairman of the association, said haulage is a cottage industry that we must promote.

He said if the government does not put a stop to this, unemployment in the state will escalate because cottage industries will be killed.

“When a foreigner comes in and wants to do everything that means there is something he wants to hide.

“If we continue like this most of our youths will remain unemployed and the result is that crime will escalate.

“The cottage industry in the state has been killed by the activities of most of these multinationals and we need to take our country back,” he said.

Photo: The protesters carried various placards and protested the invasion of their business by the foreign nationals at the Odukpani Junction in Calabar.
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