An Adamawa legal practitioner, Sunday Joshua Wugira has threaten legal action, after a seven-day ultimatum to Adamawa State Police Commissioner, Audu Madaki, asking him to rescind his ban on commercial transport motorcycles, tying the ban to the death of three persons and several injuries.
Wugira alleged that both the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu and the Adamawa State Commissioner of Police have trampled on the rights of Nigerians and the people of Adamawa to free movement and association already provided for by the Constitution of the country; and that the police acted illegally by not seeking the approval of both the executive and the legislature on an issue that has an impact on the economy and well being of the people.
Wugira made the remarks Monday in an exclusive chat with The Tide source,
while the police possess within its right the power to restrict movement temporarily in order to address a particular security concern.
Wugira said, it lacks the power to restrict movement perpetually to the point of causing grievous social and economic dislocation by its action.
Wugira explained that the imposition of a ban on transport motorcycles by the police infringes on the rights of ordinary Nigerians and specifically the people of Adamawa, who rely on the mode of transportation to carry out their day-to-day activities; and that the ban could lead to more loss of lives because emergencies like child delivery in most local communities are aided by transport motorcycles; with economic activities like farming and trading among other activities facilitated by this mode of transport.
He says that the life of ordinary Adamawans have been made difficult by the ban, especially the lives of the poor who use transport motorcycles to conduct their daily business and agricultural activities.
“The question we should ask is, does the Commissioner of Police have the power under the law for whatever reason to impose a ban on the use of motorcycles?
“He does not have the power because when he issues such a ban, it infringes on the right of movement which has been guaranteed under the law.
“He has the power to proffer solutions to the security of the state, but can he impose a ban without both the legislature and the executive accenting to it?” Wugira challenges.
He said, “This ban has far reaching consequences on the life of the people, especially in emergency situations, such as women in delivery and a host of other economic and social activities that are conducted in our local communities on motorcycles.
“Yes, he has the interest of the state, yes kidnappers use it for their evil acts, but that does not give him the power to unilaterally impose a ban that could cripple the economic and social activity of the state.
“Look at what ultimately happened in Gurin, where three lives were lost and several others injured as I reliably gathered.
“Primitive solutions cannot put a stop to the problems we have,” he said.
“Kidnappers and criminals use motorcycles but they also wear clothes, should we stop wearing clothes? They eat food, would we stop eating so that kidnappers go hungry? They use cars, are we going to stop driving cars?
“I am using this medium to give him a seven-day ultimatum to reverse his decision, it is undemocratic and reprehensible,” the lawyer declared.
“There are laws that govern this country and the IGP does not have the power to ban motorcycles because it affects the well-being of the people.
“While we call on the people to be law-abiding, I am sure the people will fight for their rights and I will be instituting legal action on behalf of the people of the state.
“I will be submitting a letter to the Commissioner of Police Monday challenging the illegal act and the police must reverse its decision.”
Illegal Parks: Taxi Drivers Accuse Task Force Of Extortion
Taxi drivers plying Rumuokwuta-Choba route in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, have raised alarm over what they described as illegal extortion by officials of the Task Force on Street Trading and Illegal Motor Parks.
The taxi drivers alleged that the officials of the taskforce assigned to Rumuokwuta/Choba route have deviated from their primary official assignment of ensuring sanity on the road and were now engaging in illegal extortion of money from drivers.
Speaking to The Tide, a taxi driver plying Rumuokwuta/Choba route, Mr. Jide Akande, narrated his ordeal in the hands of a task force official who allegedly jumped into his taxi cab demanding for N1,500 as gratification just to allow him load his passengers anywhere.
He also alleged that the official threatened to arrest him if he refused to comply.
Narrating his own experience, another taxi driver on the same route, Mr. Onwuka Ibe, told The Tide that though the task force was needed to sanitise the roads, he regretted that the bad-eggs among them were trying to sabotage the efforts of the government.
He said that some officials of the taskforce, were in the habit of extorting drivers who paid as much as N3,000 in a day for them to load and offload.
Ibe stated that it was a major challenge facing the drivers, which the task force should address.
He commended the state governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for the initiative, noting that the exercise had improved the flow of traffic in almost all the routes in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas.
He advised the task force to operate with human face, while also engaging in regular dialogue and consultations with stakeholders to resolve issues.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the task force Hon. Bright Amaehule, had condemned the action of some of his members and warned that anyone caught in shady deals would be dealt with.
It would be recalled that Amaewhule suspended three members of the task force at Rumuokoro axis, last Wednesday.
Amaewhule Promises To Rid Task Force Of Bad Elements
The Chairman of the Rivers State Task Force on Street Trading and Illegal Motor Parks, Hon. Bright Amaewhule, has reaffirmed his determination to rid the body of bad elements that tend to undermine the efforts of the task force.
The chairman gave the assurance shortly after announcing the suspension of five members of the task force at Rumuokoro unit of the operation, recently.
According to him, the suspension of the five officials of the task force was as a result of negligence of duty, saying drivers were busy loading and off-loading passengers outside the Rumuokoro Park, while his men sat down and watched.
“We said that no driver drops or loads passengers any more along the road, rather you must enter the park. Also coming from Choba, you must drop passengers in the park and not at Rumuokoro roundabout which will end up causing road traffic congestion.
“I now sighted my men, five of them allowing loading and off-loading at that place. I, therefore, have no option than to show them the way out by suspending them for neglecting their duty,” he said.
Hon Amaewhule maintained that several warnings had been issued to the task force officials to desist from any act capable of undermining the efforts of the taskforce.
“I have had several reports from drivers and members of the public concerning the negative attitude of some of the officers and I had cautioned and advised enough; now is time for action,” Amaewhule warned.
Meanwhile, the task force chairman has advised all trailers and tankers from Eleme, Tai, Gokana and Obio/Akpor local government areas to park their trucks at trailer park situated at Ebubu Eleme, stressing the task force would not hesitate to seize any trailer causing road traffic congestion on the road.
Drivers Decry Poor Condition Of Etche-Ngo-Okpala Road
Commercial drivers in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State on Monday staged a peaceful protest at Okomoko to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the deplorable state of the Etche-Ngo-Okpala federal road.
The chief driver of the association, Chief Alex Nweke, while speaking to newsmen at Okomoko town, expressed hope that the five-hour protest would attract the attention of both the federal and state governments to the road.
According to him, the aim of the protest was to tell the Federal Government that Etche Local Government Area remained an integral part of the federal unit and therefore deserved equal opportunity and attention given to other parts of the country.
“We passionately appeal that the Federal Government should come to our aid by fixing the road, which links Rivers State, Imo and Abia States.”
He said that the road had become a death trap, as drivers and passengers were always harassed, raped, robbed and kidnapped by men of the underworld due to slow movement occasioned by the bad road.
A driver John Okere, who spoke to our correspondent, said that the rate at which vehicles broke down on the road vis a vis the cost of maintenance was unbearable, stressing that if the road was rehabilitated, it would cost them less to maintain their vehicles.
Another driver, Mr. Linus Nwankwo, also told The Tide that drivers lost several business hours and income due to potholes and bad condition of the road and therefore appealed to the Federal Government to take immediate action to remedy the road.
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