The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, on Thursday in Abuja directed the release of 136 impounded tricycles to their owners in appreciation to compliance to the rule of law by the operators.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tricycles were released in a symbolic ceremony at the FCT Department of Road Transport Services (DRTS), office in Mabushi, where the unions gathered to receive them.
Addressing the gathering on behalf of the FCT Minister, a resource person on Traffic Management in the FCT, Alhaji Ahmed Sajoh, appreciated the peaceful conduct of the operators.
Sajoh, however, restated the commitment of the FCT administration in ensuring a safe and efficient traffic management system in the territory.
He, however, explained that though the release was unconditional, the FCTA expects that all party concerned would abide by laid down rules and regulations or face the full wrath of the law.
“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 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, Road safety, the Police and Department of State Services, to make sure that traffic rules are obeyed in the FCT.”
He said that sensitisation had been ongoing with a lot of interfacing between the FCTA and the various unions and operators.
The Director, DRTS, Alhaji Wadata Bodinga, said the gesture would sustain the cooperation security operatives were getting from the unions and the riders in enforcing the restriction of movement of the tricycles.
He, however, called on representatives of the tricycle owners and riders to take the message of the minister’s kind gesture to all members of their respective unions.
Bodinga warned that an abuse of the gesture would not be tolerated, stressing that any tricycle operator caught violating the restriction order would be dealt with accordingly.
The director also said that the department would continue to arrest erring road users, be it tricycles, commercial motorcycles, rickety vehicles as well as unpainted taxis.
He advised the operators to find alternative place of operation to avoid arrest as the exercise was going to be a continuous one, with the possibility of an increase in tempo to achieve result.
Also, the representative of the Department of Security Services (DSS), Mr Peter Olumuji, observed that most tricycles that perpetrate crimes were not registered with the union.
He, therefore, advised the union to register all its members, ensure their bio-data was captured and have a side code on their tricycle indicating the area they operate.
“Any Tricycle operator without the side code and not captured properly will be apprehended henceforth. This is one of the security measures taken by the FCTA to ensure that the FCT is secured at all times.“
The representative of the tricycle operators unions, Musa Anchau, expressed gratitude to the minister for the unconditional release of the tricycles.
He prayed that the almighty continue to guide and protect the minister, while assuring the FCTA that their members would continue to be educated on the need to obey all rules and regulations.