Fred Itua, Abuja
Despite the directive by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration against overloading by commercial drivers, asBBN part of measures of checking the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the nation’s capital, about 72 drivers have been impounded for contravening the order.
Chairman of the Ministerial Task Team on Decongestion of Traffic, Mr. Attah Ikharo, told newsmen in Abuja that the 72 vehicles were impounded across the territory by enforcement team, comprising men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Directorate of Road Transport Services and the Police Force.
“I was at Nyanya this morning where we observed the level of compliance. I observed at Dutse-Alhaji, Area one by Rain oil and from what I gathered from different government agencies, about 72 cars were impounded as at 12noon today.
“The Federal Road Safety, have been impounding vehicles, the VIO have been impounding vehicles and all government agencies have been encouraged to impounde vehicles that bridge the laws of overload and penalise in line with the rules that stipulates the offences against overloading.
“Lastly today what I see is that they have been able to discourage those who carry two or three passengers at the front. We have also been encouraging transporters to carry only three passengers at the back. Usually they carry four passenger at the back but we want to discourage that.
“So far so good all relevant agencies have been effecting arrest and as the days goes by the number of impounded vehicles will likely to increase,” he said.
He said the Administration is currently discussing with drivers of high capacity buses to reduce, if possible, totally eliminate standing in high capacity buses.
Ikharo added that the enforcement team is also trying to discourage overcrowding at the entry points where conductors will have some people hanging with him.
“Though we have not been able to make any arrest on that one yet, we are hoping that by Monday we will commence intensive enforcement on high capacity buses, to discourage those who are standing and those who hand around the doors.
“But we are appealing to commercial motorist particularly those of high capacity buses to please live their windows open for proper ventilation and ensure passengers by the windows live them open because often times passengers by the window side want to take air that is sufficient for them without considering other passengers inside the buses,” he added.
On the penalty for overloading, Ikharo said each government agencies that got the directive of the FCT Administration operate in line with extant laws of the agencies.”The Police have laws against overloading DRTS, Road Safety all have laws against overloading but I think the major penalty is that the vehicles will be impounded and fines levied against them before they are freed.
He said the enforcement against overloading will be sustained even after the Coronavirus challenge has been arrested.