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C’River To Ban Keke-NAPEP Operations

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Few years after banning commercial motorcycle operations in the Calabar metropolis, the Cross River State Government is again tinkering with the possibility of outlawing the operations of commercial tricycles in Calabar.

Mr Edem Effiom Ekong, the Special Adviser, Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) to Gov. Liyel Imoke, disclosed this on Sunday in an interview with our correspondent in Calabar.

Ekong, also the immediate past Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, said government would stop the operation of commercial “Keke-NAPEP’’ in Calabar if their operators continue to flout government regulations.

Our reporters recalls that commercial motorcycle operators were banned from the streets of Calabar metropolis by the state government on November 15, 2009.

Ekong said that government’s ban on commercial tricycle operation in Calabar would, however, be an option, not immediate consideration, if operators disregard government’s directives on their operations.

“Actually, if we find that it is impossible to regulate the operations of tricycles even in the suburbs that we had restricted them to operate, it will be an option for government to ban the operation of tricycles in Calabar.

“If it reaches a level where government gives a direction and then operators of commercial vehicles find it impossible to obey the regulation; then maybe an outright ban would be an option on the table.

“It is not off the table at all, but it is not an immediate consideration,’’ Ekong said.

“we expect that the tricycles will abide by the regulations that had been given to them; do not carry beyond the prescribed passengers; get an insurance; get road worthiness. He said that the DOPT will commence enforcement of regulations on commercial tricycle operation “in about two months or so’’.

Ekong also advised Local Government authorities on internal revenue generation as well as members of the public and tricycle operators on how to go about their lawful business.

“There must be other ways to source for revenue other than in areas that are not exclusive to the councils.

“My advice to them (Council authorities) is to work with us; we do not wish them any evil, we are trying to bring some order and I am sure they will appreciate.

“To the members of the public; mine is to seek for patience; there is going to be more buses and more taxis as soon as we open up the routes,’’ Ekong said.

He said that the state government would acquire a number of commercial buses to boost public transportation in Cross River.

“The State Government is going to acquire a few buses to inject into its transport system. What we need to do is to make our citizens comfortable.

“Right now, we have a firm working with us to restructure our transportation master plan. The DOPT is barely four or five years old so there is this issue of capacity building and getting it right.

“ It is better to spend a lot more time planning before execution than to commence execution and find that your plan was bad midway.

“We are structuring a proper foundation for public transportation and when the super structure is ready you will all appreciate it.

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Transport

Immigration Steps Up Anti-Touting Vigilance

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Passports Command, Ikoyi, has increased its surveillance  on touting in a bid to check extortion within its jurisdiction.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with The Tide in Lagos, last Friday, the Immigration Comptroller, Passports Office, Ikoyi, Lagos, Deputy Comptroller Liman A.I , said the negative impact of touting on the nation’s economy would not be allowed to continue under his watch.
He said ,”we are applying persuasion, dialogue and seeking the support of all well meaning stakeholders in this area to spread the anti-touting message and dissuade people from unlawful acts. However, we could apply coercive power as the need arises.
“With the selfless leadership shown by the Comptroller General, Alhaji Mohammed Babandede, we at the PCO, Ikoyi, Lagos, have decided to re-dedicate ourselves to duty and complement the efforts of the CGIS. 
“We are prepared more than ever to wage the anti-miscreants war relentlessly.
Liman assured the general public of friendly environment for legitimate transaction in an effort to strengthen the national economy, warning deviants to shun touting and other related vices.
According to him, “the command has keyed into the various strategies including the use of ICT in gathering of intelligence, among others.
“The service believes that the fight against miscreants within its corridor cannot be undertaken by the service alone, hence our call on Nigerians to partner with us in ensuring that the passport seekers do not patronise touts to defraud them. Our resolve is unshaken and our commitment is total”. 
On her part, the Public Relations Officer of the command, a Deputy Superintendent of Immigration (DSI), Mrs Adetoun Shiyindemi, commended the Deputy Comptroller Liman, for his selfless service, pointing out that he has really given the officers and men of the command a sense of belonging. 
“Since the Comptroller came in, it has been a servant-leader relationship here at Ikoyi PCO and we are all motivated to put in our best with what the CGIS has given us, you will see a new immigration service”, she assured. 

By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos

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Maritime

Union Urges NIMASA, RSG To Dredge PH/Bonny Jetty

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The Bonny Maritime Transport Association (BMTA) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Rivers State Government to dredge the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty to enhance marine operations.
The union said the low shore of the river hampers its operations and grounds boats.
The Marine Safety Officer, BMTA, Comrade Kings Don, who made the call, said the low shore of the jetty was not helpful to marine operations.
According to him, drivers and passengers find it difficult to ply the route whenever the tide is low, thus wasting man hours.
“Sometimes, we push the boat to a level it would afloat due to low tide suffered in the jetty. We are appealing to NIMASA and the state government to assist and dredge the jetty for more efficiency”, he pleaded. 
Don described the Port Harcourt/Bonny Jetty as the gateway to Bonny Island and other riverine communities, and called on NIMASA and the state government to intervene and make the marine sector viable in the area. 
He said that the prompt dredging of the jetty would enhance water transportation in the state and improve its revenue generation.
He, however, commended the security agents, especially the Nigerian Navy and the marine police, for rescuing the waterways and creeks from all forms of criminality.
Comrade Don appealed to the security agents to engage in 24-hour patrol of the routes and other channels to save lives and property.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

Boat Mishaps: Ship Owner Blames Absence Of Safety Regulations

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A renowned ship owner in the country, Alhaji Aminu Umar, has decried lack of standardisation and enforcement of safety measures on the nation’s inland waterways by the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
He also blamed lack of will to enforce regulations, safety, standard and regulations on overloading, night voyage, rickety and old craft as causes of mishap on the inland waterways.
Alhaji Umar, who is a former president, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), said in Minna, Niger State, recently that enforcement of safety and standard on the nation’s inland waterways was weak.
Reacting to incessant boat mishaps in the country, Umar said, “there is no standard applied on movement of people, as all kinds of boat are being used. It is important that we standardise, because lack of safety and standard will increase accident.
“I think, the task of NIWA is to standardise conditions and procedures on the nation’s waterways”.
He also called for the regulation of movement of badges and passenger boats across the port environment.
“It’s a huge risk allowing badges moving containers around the port area side by side with boats carrying passengers.
“Moving people and containers at the same time is a huge risk, and a safety concern.
“NIWA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should see to this and tackle the menace”, he said.

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