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Taxi Drivers Fault New Registration Scheme

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The Abuja Taxi Owners and Drivers Welfare Association, has said that the plans by the FCT authority to have them registered under its new licenced transport companies scheme was unwise and inhuman.

Mr Francis Nwaobudo, the Chairman of the association who said this at a news conference on Sunday in Abuja, argued that the scheme, if implemented, would render the over 19, 000 registered taxi drivers in the FCT jobless and their dependants hungry.

It was gathered that the FCT authority has concluded plans to introduce a new transport scheme under its Greater FCT Operators’ Licence Scheme.

Under the scheme, the authority plans to inject more than 100 high capacity mini buses and taxis to be managed by a total of five companies which it had licenced to provide and carry out the transport services within the city.

The existing transporters are expected to register under the five licenced companies to remain in business.

The companies include Messrs Abuja Transport Cooperative Society Painted Taxi, City Cab Express Limited Painted Taxi, Print Field Enterprise Taxi, Typical Messrs CDN Limited and Shaanni Auto Limited.

“It would be most inhuman to ask our members who had been in the business of offering town services since the inception of the FCT to now go and join the employment of private companies,” the chairman said.

According to him, the scheme is “tantamount to enslavement,extortion and most unfair”.

He noted that the scheme, if not properly handled, could; “offend the sensibility of the right thinking members of the public”.

He alleged that the registered companies were being managed by capitalists who were only interested in making money without having the interest of commuters.

He further said that the leadership of the association had met with the FCT authorities severally to tell them that the proposed scheme would not only be detrimental to taxi drivers in the city but also to commuters generally.

He added that efforts to make the authorities have a rethink on the proposed scheme had proved abortive and therefore, called on President Goodluck Jonathan, the FCT Minister and other political stakeholders to intervene.

“We appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan, who our members campaigned vigorously for during his campaign by carrying his fresh air poster on our vehicles, to come to our aid and help us out,” Nwaobudo said.

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Monarch Tasks RSG, NDDC On Chokota-Umuebulu Road

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The Onye Ishi Ala Chokota in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, Eze I.S. Wekeh, has appealed to the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to add Chokota-Ikwerengwo-Umuebulu Road to their respective priority projects with a view to rehabilitating the road.

Eze Wekeh who made the appeal recently while speaking with newsmen urged the state government to come to the aid of the residents in the area, saying the area hosts several oil wells mined by Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), therefore playing a key role in the revenue generation of the nation.

According to him, “during the time the present state government flagged-off the construction of Igbo-Rumuokwurusi Road, there was an assurance that Chokota-Ikwerengwo-Umuebulu Road will be rehabilitated, but we are still hopeful that the road is still dear to his heart, as we are still expecting result. I am also appealing to NDDC to come to the aid of the inhabitants of the area as well as the multinational corporation operating in the area”.

A resident in the area, Mrs Adaku Amadi, who spoke to The Tide, said “Things are very difficult here for us due to the bad road. Our mothers use to go to the farm with bicycle or motor cycle and they usually fall on the bad road. Some pregnant women will deliver without any medical treatment because of lack of access to medication due to bad road. So we are appealing to government to help us alleviate this suffering by rehabilitating the road”.

Another resident in the area, Mr Paul Wosu, said “my brother, we use to suffer here and we are expecting government to do something, even NDDC as an interventionist agency to come to our aid. Now you can drive in because everywhere is dry, but during the rainy season, you can not dare it, because the flood will drown you. We are still appealing for positive response from the relevant authorities”.

It would be recalled that the NDDC had sometime in 2006 promised to fix the road as part of their priority projects, but could not mobilise to site till date a result, the state government promised to rehabilitate the road.

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FRSC To Prosecute Users Of Unworthy Heavy Duty Trucks

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The Plateau State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it would impound and prosecute users of unworthy heavy duty trucks and articulated vehicles within Jos metropolis.

The command disclosed this in a statement signed by Route Commander Andrew Bala, its Public Education Officer, yesterday in Jos.

It expressed worry over the rampant and incessant crashes and breakdown of heavy duty trucks and articulated vehicles within the Jos metropolis.

“Crash investigation and analysis has shown that most of these crashes and breakdowns are as a result of brake failure and mechanical deficient vehicles.

“It is in this light that the command is admonishing all owners of heavy duty trucks, articulated and dysfunctional vehicles to carry out routine checks and repairs on their vehicles.

“Very soon, the command will carry out a special patrol to wipe out and prosecute offenders of unworthy vehicles within the Jos metropolis and environs that ply the highways,” the statement said.

The command advised motorists to keep enough distance from heavy duty trucks or articulated vehicles on the highway to allow for safe manoeuvering in case of any mishap.

It said that the task of ensuring safety on the highway is a shared responsibility.

It appealed to all road users to obey all traffic rules and regulations as anyone found wanting would be sanctioned accordingly.

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Flyover: Commissioner Calls For Patience Over Traffic Congestion

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Following the ongoing construction of Rumuokoro flyover by the construction giant, Julius Berger Plc, the Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Austin Ben Chioma, has urged motorists and road users to exercise patience and bear with the traffic situation as the construction of the flyover project progresses.

The Commissioner  made the appeal on Monday in a chat with newsmen while supervising the demolition of structures at the garrison flyover construction site in Port Harcourt

He noted the traffic problems associated with the construction of Rumuokoro flyover and assured that measures would be put in place to ensure free flow of traffic at Rumuokoro.

According to him, “The company has just started the flyover at Rumuokoro, Very soon, we will work out modalities to alleviate the flow of traffic at that area. I appeal that people, especially motorists should exercise patience pending when the project will be completed. It is for the good of the whole”.

The Tide reports that Julius Berger, had since last week, blocked one of the two lanes along Eliozu-Rumuokoro Road, leaving one lane to serve the motorists.

Meanwhile, The Tide gathered that some policemen and soldiers from Bori Camp were collecting N50 each from commercial drivers who run one way along Eliozu route.

Speaking to The Tide, a taxi driver who plies Rumuokoro-Eliozu route, John Jide, said, “soldiers from Bori Camp came on the road through their back gate to the road and started collecting N50 with the allegation that we were running against the lane (one way), when it has officially been approved that motorists should use one way pending when there will be alternative provision, as the flyover construction lasts”.

Another taxi driver who plies same route, Igwe Ajam, said “police and army are disturbing us on this route. They extort so much from us. You meet police check point, they will collect N50, you move further you see a gang of soldiers, you pay another N50, but private motors that are also running that same one way are allowed to go free.

“Their target is commercial taxi, we want government to look into this because we are not deliberately running one way if not for the approval of the authorities that be”.

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