Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Musa Bello, has directed the Department of Road Transport Services (DRTS) to release 136 impounded tricycles to their owners.
This was disclosed in a statement yesterday by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, saying the act was a gesture of goodwill as well as in appreciation for compliance to the rule of law by commercial tricycle operators.
Various unions of the tricycle operators gathered to receive the tricycles on behalf of their members at a symbolic ceremony held at the DRTS office in Mabushi, Abuja.
The handing-over ceremony was supervised by the resource person on traffic management in the FCT, Alhaji Ahmed Sajor, who represented the minister.
He, however, stated that although the release was unconditional, the FCTA expected all concerned parties to abide by laid down rules and regulations or face the full wrath of the law.
He said: “Let me say this for the benefit of everybody here. Violation of traffic rules is still an offence and can attract sanctions by security agencies. This gesture by the Honourable Minister does not mean it’s a free for all situation and people can continue to violate traffic regulations. It is the responsibility of the security agencies, the DRTS, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the police and the Department of State Services, to make sure that traffic rules are obeyed in the FCT.”
Speaking at the event, DRTS Director, Wadata Bodinga, said the gesture would sustain the cooperation, which security operatives were getting from the unions and the riders in enforcing the restriction of movement of the tricycles.
He called on representatives of the tricycle owners and riders to take the message of the kind gesture to all their members, while impressing on them that an abuse of the gesture would not augur well for them, noting that any tricycle operator caught violating the restriction would be dealt with accordingly.
Also speaking, representative of the Director, Department of Security Services, Mr. Peter Olumuji, alleged that most tricycles used to perpetrate crimes in the FCT were not registered with the union.
He, therefore, advised the union to register all riders, ensuring that their biodata is captured and have a side code on their tricycle to indicate the area where they are allowed to operate. He said any tricycle operator without the side code and not captured properly would be apprehended henceforth.