The Chairman, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Hon Solomon Abel Eke, has said that the recent restriction of trycycle popularly called “keke”, operation time to 7pm and the biometric registration of commercial vehicle operators in the area was yielding positive result towards addressing the security challenges in the area.
The Chairman who disclosed this recently during an interview with newsmen at the council headquarters, Rumuodamaya, said the purpose of the biometric registration of all commercial vehicles and their drivers was to properly identify the authentic operators of the vehicles, with a view to ensuring that the lives and property of the citizens in the area were secured.
According to him, the restriction of operation time to 7pm for Keke drivers and the biometric exercise are yielding result as part of the measures to check the insecurity that was posing a major threat to the area.
He disclosed that the biometric exercise was in partnership with Multi Mesh Communication and Zenith Bank Plc, stressing “We want all commercial drivers and Keke operators operating in the area to be registered, including tracking device, as well as have their registration number boldly written on the vehicle, so that if there are (is) any vehicle related crime committed, any where you may be, we will track you down.’’
He urged commercial drivets to cooperate with the council in a bid to provide peaceful and safe environment for people to live and do business.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Chairman, Keke Owners Association in the area, Chukuma Otu Wabali, enjoined keke operators in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area to come out enmasse to register in the biometric exercise to enable them protect their image and do their business devoid of any molestation.
A trader, Mrs Ijeoma Wagbara, whose business extends beyond 7pm, lamented the level of hard times the ban on Keke had caused her and her business, saying that they had to treck long distance to get to where commercial vehicles were available. Also, an executive member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the area, Benjamin Igbigwe, said that the ban on Keke had inflicted a lot of hardship on workers, civil servants, and traders whose activities extend beyond 7pm.
Daura Community Expresses Excitement Over Transport University
The indigenes of Daura, Katsina State, have expressed excitement at the groundbreaking/construction of the University of Transport in their community.
Some members of the community who spoke to newsmen shortly after the ground breaking ceremony last Monday, said that the construction of an additional higher institute of learning in the town was long overdue.
They, however, thanked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for making their dream come true.
The Galadima of Daura, Alhaji Ahmad Diddiri, said other than the secondary schools, the community had only one higher institution, the College of Legal Studies.
Diddiri said: “Education means power basically and the government has put in so much effort to build sufficient education for our people.
“Now, this is another big development for our people, having a university at our door step. We will be able to have more graduates, more trained people in our community and country.
“This is not only for Daura area alone. Our aspiration is for our children to not only be educated but smarter; they should know how to behave.” He further said the institution would alleviate suffering of the people in the community and reduce the cost of acquiring knowledge.
Another indigene of Daura, Mr Yusuf Ibrahim, said the institution would boost the income and economy of the people of the state and its environs.
He said it was a thing of joy that the state would be privileged to have a specialised university.
He thanked the Federal Government for the initiative, saying that it would benefit not only the people of the state but the nation as a whole.
Mr Abubakar Abubakar who was also excited by the transport university, said: ”there is going to be more income for the people around the area and more of our people are going to be educated.
“Our people will be more empowered and basically, it will translate to a better way of life for our children.
Traffic Congestion: Commuters Resort To Rail Transport
As road traffic congestion along Port Harcourt-Aba expressway bites harder, due to the on-going construction of flyovers at Rumuogba (artillery) and Rebisi (Garrison), commuters especially traders from Aba have resorted to the use of rail transport as an alternative means to road transportation.
The Tide reports that the deplorable condition of Oyigbo-Aba express way and the total neglect of the road by the Federal Government coupled with the on-going construction of two flyovers at artillery and garrison junctions by the Rivers State Government, has reinvigorated the patronage of the moribund rail transport system in the state.
The Tide’s investigation revealed that Aba traders are mostly the people patronising the rail transport more, giving the reason that it is safer and cheaper.
Speaking to The Tide, Emeka Ijebe, a passenger on board the train transport service from Aba to Port Harcourt wanted the train services to extend from Port Harcourt to the northern part of the country.
According to him, I joined train about two years ago to the north, but surprisingly now, they said they could no longer extend to the north and other parts of the country except Port Harcourt to Aba. To me, they should improve on their services, the condition of the coaches are very bad and the whole environment is unconducive, it is just because it is cheaper in cost of transportation and a bit safer.”
To John Ama, a trader from Aba and a passenger on board the train coach, “this is the first time I am joining the train due to the heavy road traffic congestion we are experiencing along Aba-Port Harcourt expressway due to bad road, especially around Oyigbo. To me, everything about the train is very poor “
Mrs Agnes Egbe, also a passenger and a business woman on board the train, said: “everything is wrong; the environment is so unconductive, the train, the coaches everywhere is dirty, the seat, nothing is good about it. It is just that it is cheap and the roads are bad and we have no alternative”.
However, Jude Ofoegbu, another passenger, “we are enjoying it, you can see us, this place is better than the road, this rail line is safer. When you stay here, you don’t have any problem, you can see everything is moving, everybody is free, the only challenge we have is that the train is very old. If government can provide new one for us, we will be fine”.
The Tide gathered that before now, the rail services operated from Port Harcourt to other parts of the country, especially northern states, but is now restricted to Port Harcourt-Aba with a fare of N200 only. The train stops intermittently at five points before reaching the station, a delay most passengers found uncomfortable.
Residents Seek Govt’s Attention On Chokota-Ikwerrengwo-Umuebule Road
Road users and residents across Chokota, Ikwerrengwo and Umuebule Communities, all in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, have decried the deplorable condition of the road linking the three communities, appealing to the state government for immediate attention.
Speaking to The Tide at the weekend, at Umuebulu, a community leader, Donatus Nweke, regretted that despite several promises to rehabilitate the road, nothing visible had been done.
He appealed to the state government to urgently repair the road and alleviate the harsh economic hardship the bad road has subjected them to.
Nweke explained : “Umuebule has the largest population and in fact, half of Etche population with more than 75 oil wells, but we are very surprised that all the oil companies, federal and state governments and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), neglected us after several meetings and appeals to them. It is too bad”.
He said that the affected communities would not relent in appealing and bringing the attention of the state government to the bad state of the road until the state road maintenance agency was drafted to remediate the road.
One of the traders in the market, Uche Agbaoso, told The Tide: “because of the bad road, my business has been affected badly. I have two vehicles but I am not using anyone. Our customers are no more buying our goods because of the inaccessibility of the road, we are suffering and we need government intervention”.
Another road user in the area, Emma Udoh narrated an ugly incident he witnessed on the road sometime ago. He said: “I saw Okada rider carrying a pregnant woman recently and both of them fell into the pothole due to the bad road. The woman eventually lost the baby. We are calling on the government and all relevant agencies to help us fix the road”.
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