Gyang Bere, Jos
Association of Tricycles Riders, Plateau State, on Monday, clashed with men of the Vehicles Inspection Office (VIO) during a violent protest against alleged constant harassment and mandatory payment of N24, 000 by each tricycle after registration.
The tricycles operators, who came out in their numbers, besieged the Plateau State House of Assembly as early as 7:30 a.m. to solicit the intervention of the legislators in resolving the feud between them and the VIO.
The Daily Sun gathered that the group pursued the VIO who were out to carry out their official functions and vandalised some furniture in their offices across the state capital.
Leader of the tricycles operators in the state, Musa Adamu, said hteir members came out to protest the obnoxious law made by the State Government that empowered the VIO to constantly harass them on the streets after proper registration of their tricycles.
“We are protesting the exorbitant tax being charged on us which is very high considering the harsh economic realities in the nation and also the constant harassment on us in the State by men of the Vehicle Inspection Office of Plateau State Ministry of Works and Transport”.
“We disagree with the training fee of N5800 for each tricycle operator after proper registration from the state Government. We are also made to understand that we are going to pay another N24, 000 each for a levy that we don’t know.
“This is wickedness, we are only trying to survive but Government is making life difficult for us. They have also insisted that every tricycle operator must have a driver license, we are not saying no to that but they must give us sufficient time.”
The group vowed not to resume full operation in the state until the state government reverses some of the harsh decisions that it has taken against the tricycles operations.
Meanwhile, Plateau State Government has suspended the ongoing training programme for the tricycle riders in the state following the mass protests.
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Transportation Engr. Gabriel Mafulul, who addressed the protesters at the State Secretariat, appealed to all the tricycle riders in the state to remain calm.
“The Ministry of Works and Transport wish to announce that the ongoing Training Program for tricycle riders in the state in respect of the amount for training and the procedure for licensing is hereby suspended pending further consultations”.
Mafulul disclose that the state Government was only trying to keep a comprehensive data for all commercial vehicles operating in the state for proper coordination of their activities.
Meanwhile the Special Adviser to Governor Simon Lalong on Media and Publicity, Dan Manjang, said the state government has only introduced registration for all tricycles as well as drivers license in compliance with growing security and developmental needs of the state.
He said the government was considering meeting with the tricycle riders union officials to find a “common ground” into the conflict.