Following the protest by taxi drivers in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, over allegations of extortion by FCT Special Task Team on City Cleaning and Management, the Directorate of Road Traffic Services, DRTS, yesterday, disclosed plans to review operations of the team for better performance.
Director of the FCT DRTS, Mr. Danjuma Garba, who stated this in Abuja, at a meeting with road transport unions, appealed for calm, while assuring that their grievances would be addressed.
It would be recalled that drivers of painted taxis in the FCT had embarked on protests to protest what they called the high handedness of the FCTA/VIO joint task force.
The protest, which led to traffic gridlock along most of the major routes in the FCT, also degenerated into the vandalism and smashing of vehicle windscreens at the VIO offices in Mabushi and Bwari.
Garba, while addressing the unions in his office however warned the protesting taxi drivers to adhere to all traffic rules in the territory or continue to risk arrest.
He appealed for calm and stressed the need for the unions to be law abiding while their grievances were being looked into.
He explained that the special taskforce, set up by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, was established as a last resort to ensure adherence to traffic rules in the FCT.
The VIO boss said that the taskforce was not established to harass commercial drivers, but to ensure law and order on the roads in line with what is applicable in developed countries.
“This meeting is to put heads together with the unions, to know what their grievances are and tell them what the stance of the government is on this issue and see how we can move forward.
“The transport industry is an industry where we are all stakeholders. We have a responsibility toward government and you have a responsibility toward your members.
“I must also say that you need to call your members to order, because you cannot achieve anything with violence. On our part, we are discussing with the authorities to look into the mode of operation of the task force,” he said.
Earlier, the FCT Chairman, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, Mr. Alabi Olorunji, said the unions’ grouse against the task force was the manner in which the operatives were impounding vehicles, extorting and beating up union members for the slightest road traffic offence.
Olorunji decried the arrest of the members when trying to pick up passengers and stressed the need for the FCTA to make provision for more bus stops to pick up passengers to avoid chaos on the roads.
He appealed to members of the union to stop any form of protest or violence as the matter as being addressed by the relevant authorities.
Secretary, National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Mr. Lawrence Fadipe, also condemned the operations of the taskforce, insisting that the unpainted taxi operators mainly caused the unruly behaviour.
The FCTA/VIO traffic taskforce comprises officials of the VIO and other security agencies with a mandate to ensure law and order on FCT highways.


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