Commercial activities came to a halt yesterday in Benin City, the Edo State capital, as drivers of commercial buses and cabs blocked major roads to protest the enforcement of colour code by the state government.
Some the roads that were blocked include Sapele Road, Ring Road, Ugbowo Road, Aduwawa, First East Circular Road and Akpapava, forcing hundreds of stranded passengers to embark on long trek to their destinations.
One of the drivers, Samuel Omoriege, who spoke to journalists, said the state government should consider the present economic situation before giving them the short notice.
He urged the government to give them six months before the enforcement, adding “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 job. So we need time to raise money for the code and painting”.
Similarly, James Akpotarie, another driver, said the recent policies of the government to drive revenue in the state were too unfavorable to transport workers.
He recalled that the government had just recently reviewed the daily ticket fee from N600 to N1800 except for Sunday when they pay N800.
“Where is government imposing levy on Sunday if not to mount further hardship on commercial drivers? We urge Governor Godwin Obaseki to rescind the anti-people policy in order to restore law and order”, Akpotarie stated.
The Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Washington Abbe, who addressed the protesters, said he would convey their request to the governor and assured that all the vehicles impounded by the task force would be released.