Tough Time awaits Traders, Taxi Drivers, Okada Riders over Traffic jams —Ondo Govt

By: Ade Adeleke

In line with the directive of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to stop further spread of deadly coronavirus pandemic, the ondo state ministry of transport has vowed to restore orderliness on major roads in Akure and other major towns in the state especially on days set aside for markets opening.

The Special Adviser to the state Governor on Transport, Barr Tobi Ogunleye who disclosed this at a press briefing in his office in Akure, also insisted that all interstate motor parks in the state remain closed.

Pix: Barr Ogunleye.

Governor Akeredolu had lamented on Monday that “example of such breaches include the needless blockade of main roads by sellers of food items, Okada riders and Taxis. Government views this with serious concern and will take every necessary step to enforce the order for the necessary and appropriate period.

“To this end, I have directed the Special Adviser on Transport and the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Commission to collaborate to ensure the ease of passage of human and vehicles at Oja Oba, Isinkan and Arakale in Akure as well as other city centres in the state.

“It is important to state that if our people fail to obey these regulations, we will not hesitate to direct the commencement of mobile courts for instant trial of individuals who fail to comply with our COVID-19 orders and regulations,” Akeredolu noted while briefing newsmen yesterday.

However reacting to the governor’s directive, his SA on Transport, Barr Tobi Ogunleye expressed the readiness of his ministry and traffic enforcement agencies such as Easy ride, Sunshine Traffic, VIO as well as security agencies would henceforth use force to control lawlessness of taxi drivers, traders selling on the roads and Okada riders who breach government’s directives on COVID-19 pandemic.

Ogunleye said the government’s decision to enforce closure of all interstate motor parks in the state was to checkmate the smuggling of coronavirus infected people into the state.

In view of the obnoxious activities of traders commercial drivers on Oja Oba and Arakale roads on Akure, the Governor’s Aide opined that, “It becomes imperative now that all the drivers’ unions; whether National Union of Road Transport Workers, the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria and every other associated union, they should place their interstate parks under complete lock for us to be able to identify those who are actually waging war against this state.

The SA on Transport explained that the state government had noted with dismay the manner at which motorists flout extant and associated traffic rules and regulations in the state, therefore directed all traffic officials and VIO in the state to redouble their efforts and enforce compliance.

He said, “I want to humbly charge our enforcement team – the sunshine traffic corps, the VIO, the Easy Drive officers – to go back to their duty posts with all seriousness to ensure compliance on our roads.”

Ogunleye however warned the traffic officials not to abuse the power given to them to take law into their hands while ensuring free flow of traffic across the state.

“We are in a serious emergency period. Emergency does not connote lawlessness. Rather, it is a situation where additional responsibilities are given to the citizen with the existing extant laws.

“But we view with greatest dismay that people are hiding under this pandemic and emergency situation to brazenly breach and violate even the existing laws without any regard to the associated rules and regulations with the COVID-19.

“We have done a bit of sensitisation, education, socialisation and even demonstrative enforcement for the willing society. Instead of appreciating the good gesture of the government of Arakunrin Akeredolu who has in order to make life bearable under the COVID-19 situation, our people keep the rules and regulations in disobedience than to abide.

“People are taking the COVID-19 situation for unwarranted license to do what they are not supposed to do. We are not going to fold our arms and allow people to go uncheckmated with this obstinate behaviour,” Ogunleye said.

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