Some commercial drivers in Benin blocked major roads in the Edo capital on Tuesday to protest the state government’s implementation of the colour code.
In order to voice their complaints, the drivers in large numbers blocked the busy Sapele Road, Ring Road, Ugbowo Road, Aduwawa, First East Circular road, and Akpapava.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the roadblocks left stranded travellers in the historic city and forced many of them to go on foot.
Speaking to NAN at Sapele Road, Mr. Samuel Omoriege claimed that the state government’s one-month notice to obtain a colour code and paint its buses in Edo colour showed a lack of consideration for the economic climate.
Even though drivers were claiming they wouldn’t pay, according to Omoriege, the government would give them six months before beginning enforcement.
“We are not saying we will not pay, but the notice is too short. Government is not sensitive to our condition.
“Some of us are graduates without job. For instance, I am a graduate of Auchi Polytechnic; it is unemployment that drove into this. So we need time to raise money for the code and painting,” he said.
Speaking in similar vein, Mr James Akpotarie said the recent policies of the government to drive revenue in the state were too unfavourable to transport workers.
Akpotarie said the government had just recently reviewed the daily ticket fee from N600 to N1, 800 and on Sunday N800.
“Where is government working on Sunday if not to mount further hardship on commercial drivers.
“We urge Gov. (Godwin) Obaseki to rescind the anti-people policy in order to restore law and order,” said the driver.
Addressing the protesters, Mr Washington Abbe, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Transportation, said he would convey their request to the governor.
Abbe, however, noted that to appease them, all the vehicles impounded would be released while taskforce would also relax the enforcement pending the state government position on their request.
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