Commercial bus drivers and Okada riders have cried out over what they described as high level of extortion by security men on Igwuruta/Etche road.
Some drivers who spoke to our reporter Saturday said between Igwuruta and Egwi town, there were about five security check points and that at each of the check points, a driver or okada rider was being forced to part with at least N50.
One of the bus drivers who identified himself simply as Chidi explained that the development has become a source of worry to most commercial drivers on the road.
“I quite commend the security officers for securing the area, but the rate at which they extort money from drivers at each check point is becoming worrisome”, he said.
Another driver, Onyebuenyi, said, “it appears that collection of N50 and N100 from any commercial driver has become part of police official work”, adding that a bus driver pays no less than N400.00 from Igwuruta to Okehi, the council headquarters.
Onyebuenyi called on the Special Monitoring Team of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to visit Etche to see how men of Nigeria Police on the road were defaming the force.
An Okada rider, Chima ,who operates between Igwuruta to Mumuture Mba town said the money okada riders pay to police was affecting their income.
“Imagine from Egwi, you meet a squad that always stations at Egwi/Nihi/Afara junction. This squad hardly collects anything less than N100 from an okada rider.
“Before you get to Umuaturu from Igwuruta, an Okada rider pays between N300 – N350 and you begin to wonder how much you charge a passenger. he said”
Chima appealed to the Commissioner of Police in the state to check the activities of his men on Etche road.
It would be recalled that the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had banned check points on public roads by the police and also set up a special squad to arrest officers collecting money from commercial drivers.
However, it appears that activities of the squad do not get to remote areas where such illegal collections still take place.
Petrol Scarcity Looms In Abuja, Others As Marketers Begin Strike
Abuja, Niger, Kaduna and neighbouring locations may face petrol scarcity in the coming days as oil marketers who distribute products in these areas have commenced an industrial action.
Oil dealers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Suleja/Abuja Unit, started the strike on Monday following disagreements between them and the Department of Petroleum Resources.
On Sunday, the marketers threatened to embark on strike over alleged extortion by DPR officials, a claim that was denied by the regulator, as it argued that its demand from the marketers was a statutory requirement.
The IPMAN Chairman, Suleja/Abuja Unit, Yahaya Alhassan, had kicked against DPR’s request for daily stock of products supplied by dealers who patronise the Suleja depot in Niger State, describing it as unethical.
But the Head, Public Affairs, DPR, Paul Osu, argued that the request was a statutory regulatory requirement for any retail outlet licence holder, which enabled DPR to provide accurate petroleum products consumption data for the country.
The association’s National Vice President, IPMAN, Abubakar Maigandi, told a national daily (not The Tide) that the strike had begun.
“I have confirmed but we at the national level, we don’t want to involve ourselves in that issue,” he said.
On whether the association was not concerned that the strike could cause petrol scarcity in Abuja, Niger, Kaduna and other locations, Maigandi expressed hope that the strike would be short-lived.
“It is normal to see queues as a result of strike, but I know that it won’t take long. They will resolve the issue very soon because by Tuesday we hope they will call our attention to the matter,” he said.
The DPR, however, maintained that its regulatory oversight was at no cost to the retail outlets, stressing that the provision of the daily stock report also enabled it to provide guide to investors in line with its role in the sector.
FRSC Partners NAICOM, NHIS On Compulsory Motor, Health Insurance
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has sought the support of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on implementation of some of the compulsory insurance policies in the country.
NAICOM disclosed that the FRSC and the commission expressed their readiness to cooperate on the enforcement of third party motor insurance when the Corps Marshall, Boboye Oyeyemi, and his team visited the commission.
“Both parties have agreed to work out an effective plan for the enforcement of third party motor insurance,” the commission said.
The commission also said it hosted the Executive Secretary, NHIS, Prof. Nasir Sambo, and his team.
According to the commission, both parties agreed to work together on the implementation of professional indemnity insurance for health workers.
The Head, Corporate Communications and Marketing Development, NAICOM, Salami Rasaaq, said the commission was committed to achieving its market development drives.
He said that the Market Development and Restructuring Initiative was launched in 2009 as a vehicle to among others drive enforcement of compulsory insurances, reduce incidences of fake insurance and in the process grow the sector.
Only Five States Have Insurance Coverage For Workers – PenCom
The National Pension Commission ( PenCom), has stated that only five states have insurance coverage for workers, despite the requirement in the Pension Reform Act of 2014, adding that 31 states of the federation have no insurance coverage in place for workers as of March 2021.
The states in accordance with PenCom’s provisions with pension plans for their workers are Lagos, Osun, Ondo, and Edo.
The Commission, in a statement made available to The Tide, stated that, “the lack of insurance demonstrates that when the private sector ignores group life insurance, it is basically following in the footsteps of state governments.
“Normally, state governments would be expected to uphold laws, but their actions have demonstrated a disregard for the law and its workers.
“Furthermore, insurance benefits are not just for the employees but also the management, that is, the government. It is to ensure that the families of those who work with them are safe regardless of what happens”.
According to the Commission, the figures acquired from PenCom’s ‘Status of implementation of the CPS in states as at March 2021’ indicated that just five states including the Federal Capital Territory had an insurance cover for it’s employees.
Recall that Section 4(5) of the PRA 2014, provides that “every employer shall maintain a Group Life Insurance Policy in favour of each employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee and premium shall be paid not later than the date of commencement of the cover”.
1.2.2 Section 4(6) also provides for situations “where the employer failed, refused or omitted to make payment as and when due, the employer shall make arrangement to effect the payment of claims arising from the death of any staff in its employment during such period”.
1.2.3 Section 8(1) of the PRA 2014 provides that “where an employee dies, his entitlements under the Life Insurance Policy maintained under this Act shall be paid by an underwriter to the named beneficiary in line with Section 57 of the Insurance Act”.
1.2.4 Section 9 of the PRA 2014 provides that “where an employee is missing and is not found within a period of one year from the date he was declared missing, and a board of Inquiry set up by the Commission makes a determination that having regards to available information and all relevant circumstances, it is reasonable to presume that the employee is dead, the provisions of Section 8 shall apply”
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