By Jeremiah Archibong
Members of Drivers Association of Cross River State Tuesday morning staged a peaceful protest in Calabar, the State capital over what they described as incessant harassment from government regulatory agencies.
Lamenting deeply, the Union Chairman, Thomas Effiong Okon while speaking to CrossRiverWatch at the convergence point at State Secretariat revealed that, “As at last week I tried to meet with the Permanent Secretary Department of Public Transport (DOPT) to talk about the issue of unnecessary harassment from “Hundred Marian” and Calabar Transport Regulatory Agency (CTRA) boys that are impounding vehicles for dropping passengers. I had told them that taxis don’t have bus stops, they drive the town they should be free to drive wherever they can pick and drop passengers”.
Furthermore, Thomas Okon disclosed that after presenting the plight of his people the Permanent Secretary said “the situation will be handled but the State Government needs revenue”.
He added that, “Today the drivers said they can’t manage it again, they need to come to a place where the government can easily hear us. It’s been long we have been enduring these, sometimes they just refurbish it by changing the agency or uniform but they have always been there in one form or the other.
“The point is when your vehicle is impounded they ask you to pay thirty thousand, twenty or fifteen thousand and we all know that with the present economic situation of the State and the country at large no taxi driver make up to five thousand naira daily, he has to pay returns of three thousand naira, fuel the car and feed”, he said while shedding tears.
Effiong recalled that, “When impounded many have to borrow money to get the vehicle out and there is no guarantee that the vehicle will not be impounded again. I have a clear issue where a young man’s vehicle was impounded three times a week that is why we are bringing our plight to the streets”.
According to him after occupying the premises of the State Secretariat for over 2 hours the State Security Adviser to Governor Ayade scheduled a meeting with the heads of the union by 10am tomorrow Wednesday to address the issues.
No government official was immediately available to give reaction to the protest at the time of filing this report.
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