Engineer Egberongbe Morufu Alamu, State Chairman, Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), in this interview speaks on how Auto Mechanics are not being considered in the urbanisation programme of the Lagos State Government, stressing the constant dislocation of members from their workshops.
Kindly introduce yourself, your business and present position in NATA
My name is Egberongbe Morufu Alamu, I am the State Chairman of NATA, I am a trained technician and that is what I do for a living.
When was NATA established and why was it established and do you have another faction like yours in the state?
NATA was established 60 years ago, and the reason why it was established was to bring her members together as one and also to fight for our rights and as far I know we do not have other faction in existence, if there is, it is a fake association.
How is it structured and how do you get your executives in place?
We have the National Executives, Zonal Executives, State Executives, Local Government and Unit Executives. All our Executives are selected through Elections.
Today, a number of vehicle owners, especially truck operators lament about the influx of fake spare parts into the country, how true is this assertion and what is your association doing to address it?
Influx of fake spare parts into Nigeria automotive market pose a big treat to the economy, the implication of such substandard safety parts in vehicles is often very severe, leading, in some cases to road crashes that could cause loss of lives and in most cases, resulting in financial losses, not just to vehicle owners, but also to other road users.
Campaign is ongoing within the association and relevant stake holders in the industry to address it
Many vehicle owners have also accused your members of using mostly fake spare parts to maximize financial gains from mechanical repairs. How would you react to this?
The complaint against our members using fake parts to maximise financial gain, as earlier mentioned, is being addressed through the campaign against substandard parts and we want all relevant government agencies to act on same SON and FCC.
What can be done to reduce the excess rate of accidents resulting from break failures, especially with trucks and what can you say is responsible for this?
The excess rate of accident resulting from brake failures are caused by a lot of factors, especially those of trucks, but it is preventable and completely avoidable.
The major causes of brake failure, especially with trucks or any other type of vehicle is negligence; lack of maintenance or poor maintenance; ignorance; substandard parts; over confidence; and over speeding. Ministry of Transportation agency vehicle Inspection Officers need to step up their operation on road Worthiness Certificate
Do you think that Nigeria can originally couple a motor engine that would power a vehicle? Give reasons for your position.
Yes, we can if we have all the necessary equipment to forge metal and all the machine tools needed to shape it. We have more than enough competent hands in Nigeria.
What advise do you have for the government regarding the Automotive Industry, especially in respect to the importation of used cars/tokunbos and trucks?
Advice for government concerning importation of used cars and trucks. You know all cars/trucks have a lifespan so government should stop allowing old cars/trucks into the country and old cars/trucks give more Co2 into atmosphere causing health risk and potential dangers
Can any ordinary member of your association acquire specialised equipment and technology required to enhance optimum performance in his work, how many of can afford it, what could be done to make your work more technologically efficient?
We have a lot of members with standard workshops across the state, but they are few in number compared to our population.
A lot of our members cannot afford the modern tools due to price and availability locally, although we have some oil companies assisting our members in training and computerised tools but we still need soft loans from financial institutions
What are the challenges facing your association, how are you solving it or what can the government do to solve it for you?
A major problem facing our association are government policies, most of our Mechanic Villages have been taken from us and converted to their personal use. Government is planning for urbanization without taking us along in their plans.
They have forgotten that without us no movement. The action of the government is frustrating our members out of job and sooner we will have brain drain, how are we going to drive the economy, who are those that will repair broken down cars?
Government need to create more Mechanic Villages and sell it to us.
- Interview conducted by Olorundare Enimola and it first appeared on Daily Independent (Nigeria) Newspapers