Thousands of unregistered commercial vehicle in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) may soon face hard time as the present leadership has reaffirmed its commitment fully implement the policy of the Transportation system in the territory as such would be in line with the Abuja Master Plan to improve the security of lives and property.
The FCT recently has continued to battle the menace of fraudsters who operate in the disguise of cab operators to unsuspecting public.
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, made this disclosure recently when he received officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), FCT Chapter that paid him a visit in his office, while preparing their minds against the impending actions of his administration.
The Minister said that such policy would be aimed at devising very efficient and scientific ways of operating as well as handling large numbers of commuters.
He said: “We also have our plans and programmes as to what we want transport management in Abuja to be. Based on the master plan and our focus and for us to be able to cater for the high number of people in Abuja, we have to really sit down and device very efficient and scientific ways of handling that, starting from the locations where you operate to the road network for your members to function, to the security of commuters and your members as well as the freedom for you to operate without hindrance”.
Malam Bello reiterated that the policy cannot be an all-comers affairs because Abuja remains the window through which the world sees Nigeria.
His words: “As you all know, anybody who has a car, no matter where he is from, one day just decides, ‘I want to go to Abuja’ and he comes to Abuja and just paints the car or we paint it for him and registers it and before you know it, he is on the streets. Some of them will come and they don’t even follow traffic regulations, they hit people on the road, park indiscriminately and I am sure most of them as you said are not your members and I know.
“But we will sit down with you and streamline it so that if somebody comes in, I will know this is not the type of driver or vehicle we want in Abuja. We will tell him to park it at the border and then enter our own kind of vehicles”.
The Minister called for support of the NURTW members while noting that all the issues raised cannot be resolved without the support of the unions.
He restated that NURTW and other unions in the transportation industry are very important stakeholders in Nigeria because no economy will progress and survive without the movement of goods, services and human beings.
The Minister said that the FCT Administration through its investment arm would roll out empowerment programmes for the transport associations through credit facilities to enable them own commercial vehicles of the standard befitting of Abuja roads.
On the knotty issue of multiple taxation, he assured: “We are working on it seriously because it affects you as transporters, it affects the hotel and hospitality business. It affects the health and educational system. Everybody is complaining. So, we are going to streamline it because the duty of government is to facilitate what you do”.
Malam Bello used the opportunity to appeal to the NURTW and other unions in the transportation industry to continue to be patient despite the challenges, saying: “under no circumstances should you take the law into your hands, no matters the provocation”.
He appreciated the support the union has been giving to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and urged them to continue in that direction.
Speaking earlier, the FCT Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Isah Dahiru Usman, commended the FCT Minister for adopting various strategies aimed towards addressing the FCT infrastructure deficits.
The Chairman decried the illegal taxation by agents of the FCT Area Councils who harass their members across the territory under the guise of collecting taxes and levies.