Cross River State Government has started to impound commercial vehicles not painted in the state colours and without a bold security number inscription.
Uqua Edet, the state’s Commissioner for Transportation, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the decision became necessary, following an increase in security challenges in the state.
It would be recalled that in 2018, Jude Ngaji, the then Security Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade, had given a directive that all commercial vehicles be painted in the state colours of blue and White.
The commercial transport operators were also required to get a security number that should be boldly inscribed on their vehicles.
The transport commissioner, Mr Edet, told NAN that several meetings were held with commercial transport operators in the state on the issue with the deadline shifted many times to show consideration to the operators’ claim that they were going through hard times.
“It is important for us to know that the security challenge is growing every day. People are complaining of kidnappers and robbers using unpainted minibuses, taxis and even tricycles, known as keke.
“Recently, the State Security Council met and a directive was given and it wrote officially to me that all commercial vehicles in the state should be painted in the state’s colours.
“We met with the operators and gave them until February15, which has elapsed again, even though there was constant public service announcement to this effect.
“Having given them that window for over three weeks, we decided to set up a team that works with the security apparatus of the state to ensure that any unpainted commercial vehicle is impounded,” he said.
He added that the penalty for disobedience of the directive was impoundment of the vehicle after which the operator would pay the expenses of the security operatives that made the arrest.
Reacting to the directive, Ekpenyong Ewa, chairman of the Tricycle Association of Nigeria, Cross River chapter, admitted that the state government had given transporters over three years to comply.
Mr Ewa said some of the operators obeyed the directive but many refused.
“With the state colours and security numbers, the state government will be able to track vehicles in the case of any crime.
“Anybody that does not want to spray his vehicle with the state colours and security number knows what he is planning; there are many cultists, robbers and kidnappers parading as transporters,” he said.
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