The appointment of a new Director to man the Road Traffic Service (VIO) FCT chapter has been commended by the staff of the agency. The VIO spokesman, K.K Iloduba, in this interview with Cyprian Ajah exposed the plans of the Director, VIO,
Deputy Corp Mashal, Aliyu Danjuma Garba to move the agency forward among other issues.
WHAT are the plans of the new Director to enhance traffic management in the FCT?
He has rolled out his game plans which includes the sustenance of the ban on tricycle popularly known as Keke Napep and commercial motorcycle also known as okada and unpainted commercial vehicles. And most importantly ensure that vehicles plying the city are in good condition. Some of the carnage we see on our roads is most often as a result of bad tyres and the carelessness of the drivers. We are determined to reduce this by ensuring that motorists comply with all rules of engagement in making sure their vehicles are in good order while on the roads. On the part of the agency, he intends to enforce discipline and add values to the organization especially in the areas of staff welfare. He is a promising leader and we are beginning to see results in some of the promises he made.
What measure did you put in place to control the movement of vehicles in Abuja in this ember months?
We have never lacked an idea as an organization. Our major hindrances have always been funds. To embark on ember month’s campaign is always a huge project. This year’s own can cost up to twenty something million. We are waiting for our parent’s organization to release the fund and we will go round the busy roads, motor parks and educate people on how to conduct themselves in this season. We will ensure that every vehicle that ply Abuja routes are road worthy, we will ensure that motorist cut down on their speed. We shall also distribute fliers, T-shirt and souvenirs to them as a reminder. We are going to ensure the fast removal of accident vehicles that can constitute nuisance on the road. Any broken vehicle that was not removed within 24 hours, the owner may likely have to look for it because we have stand-by towing vans that are ready to work. We are working round the clock to ensure that there is no accident in this ember months. It is just funding that often time slow our work down. The strategy is already on ground, we are waiting for the supply of funds.
What is your message to motorist within and outside Abuja?
I need them to understand that this is the time where travelling from one place to another is on the increase. I need them to know that their lives are in their hands, they should subject their vehicles to computerized vehicle testing, already we have one in FCT where motorist can test their vehicles and detect the faults. After the faults are detected, the motorist can go back and fix them. I challenge every one of them that wants to embark on a journey to ensure that he or she brings his vehicle to our Kubo office opposite Abuja Urban Mass Transit so that the vehicle can be tested before embarking on a journey. I will also adivce them not to patronize second-hand used tyres because it is not safe. They should go for a brand new tyre and make sure that their brake system is functional.
How do you plan to sustain the ban on commercial cycles in the cities?
We see them in different locations but I will give you an illustration. The Nigerian Police Force is one of the best equipped agencies in training and organization. They are getting better every day as an agency but that does not mean that kidnapping, stealing; armed robbery and car theft are not going on in the country. And that does not mean that the police in not working. I can link it to Road Trafficking Service, If you go to our auto pound yard where we keep impounded vehicles, we have more than 18, 000, 00 motorcycles in our custody currently. There is no part of this world that enforcement is total. But we are going to come to a point where we can hardly see a commercial motorbikes and unpainted commercial vehicles operating within the city centers of Abuja.
If you continue to sustain the ban, do you not see them being thrown into the unemployed market?
That is not the truth. As I told you, more than 70% of them are artisans. They have one business or the other they were doing but upon realising that okada business is lucrative they abandoned their jobs to embrace dangerous okada business.
Since the federal High Court Abuja suspended the park and pay scheme, indiscriminate parking of vehicles has returned to FCT streets, how do you control traffic?
The Traffic Control and Monitoring unit handles that matter. Even when the park and pay scheme was on-going it did not deter us from doing our job. We still carry out our duty as scheduled. Any where we did not want people to park; we have road signs to that effect like ‘no parking zone’. Any vehicle that parks on that spot, we clamp the tyres. We book such vehicle and we will ensure that the owner come to the office and pay a fine. Whether park and pay scheme came or stayed, it did not reduce our assignment. As i said, we have specialized units broken into two teams for traffic monitoring around the FCT.