By Ushang Ewa
The Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO) team posted to Obudu and operating along the Indi-Abeb and Bebuagbong axis of the Obudu-Utugwang-Abuochiche road now demand between 50 to 100 Naira daily from commercial and private motorcyclists and motorists respectively, as ‘Pass’ CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report.
Investigations by CrossRiverWatch reveal that the said team which has operated in the local government area for over a year are now been viewed as ‘moneybags’ by the locals as they play demi-gods to the road users from whom they collect the monies before allowing you to pass or you get ‘booked’.
Findings revealed that the team which comprises of 6 members always dressed in their orange colored vests and white upon black uniforms issue a handmade pass to the road users upon payment of the stipulated fee as the ‘pass’ for one day.
Staff of CrossRiverWatch who posed as rider and customer of a commercial motorcycle were stopped with one who was called “IPO” by his colleagues querying the duo about their ‘pass’ which they feigned ignorance of only to be asked to clear aside and “provide particulars for the bike and driver’s license” which after about twenty minutes of a planned argument by the duo led to another directive from the IPO who beckoned on another colleague and said “book this bike make them go bank go put the money there.”
The duo from CrossRiverWatch were later allowed to go through upon payment of 50 Naira following pleas from the ‘passenger’ that he was going on an official assignment with the communication showing that 5 of the 6 members of the team may hail from Obudu local government area as they spoke the Bette language fluently.
Road users who spoke to CrossRiverWatch expressed angst against the team who hurry to open their locally designed spikes upon noticing a government owned vehicle approaching.
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