Chairman, Abuja Painted Taxi Nigeria Limited, Mr. Shehu Yar’Adua, has alleged that promoters of the Sure-P taxi scheme deceived them to hurriedly sign an agreement without studying it.
At a news conference in Abuja, on Thursday Yar’Adua said that the Sure-P taxi scheme was introduced by Senator Bala Mohammed, the former Minister of the FCT in 2014, as a subsidised vehicle scheme for taxi drivers.
He said the terms of agreement for the Sure-P contract were not favourable to his members and that there were seeking an urgent review of the agreement.
According to him, the agreement was one sided because neither the drivers nor their representatives were given the privilege of studying the contents before signing it.
He claimed that they were coerced to hurriedly sign the agreement because the minister wanted the taxis to start operating within that week, so there was no time to preview it.
Yar’Adua said they only got to know the contents of the agreement in a recent letter sent to them by the Abuja Investment Company Limited, adding that the terms were not in their favour.
According to him, the vehicles given to them were supposed to be brand new and at the rate of N2.7 million each.
Yar’Adua said the amount was to cover the cost of vehicle, one year comprehensive insurance, GPS tracking system, registration/number plate as well as painting and branding.
However, he said that all these agreements were breached as the vehicles were not new but refurbished and that the market price was N1.2 million each as against N2.7 million which was given to them.
To this end, he argued that the vehicles were not subsidised at all.
“We need a total review of the Abuja Sure-P taxi agreement because when the minister came up with the palliative, we thought we would enjoy the system, so we didn’t hesitate to sell our old vehicles so that they can give us the taxis at a subsidised rate.
“But we have discovered now that the vehicles were not given to us at a subsidised rate and that the vehicles were refurbished.
“Most of those vehicles did not even last for four to five months before they knocked down and they are expecting us to pay for them.
“We have some that have been grounded for over two years now and we have requested the Abuja Investment Company Limited to come and discharge their own obligation by replacing them.
“Up till today, they have not come, the vehicles have been packed now for over one year yet they keep expecting us to pay.’’
Yar’Adua said the irregularities in the contract could be the reason they were rushed into signing the agreement.
He said that the cars were given directly to drivers, through the operators and at the end of the day the drivers would own the cars.
Yar’Adua further said that they discovered that there were no spare parts for the vehicles because they were not available for purchase anywhere.
He said the initial agreement was that they would organise a workshop where they would interact with the vehicle suppliers and then buy those spare parts but the workshop was never organised.
He also said the condition of service was not favourable for members of the organisation, adding that they were to remit N63,400 to Abuja investment company monthly for 35 months after the initial payment of N130,000.
Yar’Adua said that most of the vehicles that developed major problems had been grounded for 24 months, adding that the ones still on the road were due to the personal effort of the drivers.NAN

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