Rivers: Commercial drivers, tricycle operators implement social distancing order

Tina Amanda

The Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Rivers State, Comrade Monday Eleazar, says the Union will enforce compliance of the state government directive of social distancing beginning today Monday, 20th April 2020, across all the transport routes in the state.

The State Chairman who made this known to our correspondent Tina Amanda said the Union has issued an order to its branches and unit Chairmen that failure to enforce the government’s directives in their various zones of operation will amount to suspension.

Eleazar, however, appealed to the state government to help reduce the price of daily tickets being purchased by commercial vehicle drivers, in order to cushion the effect it will have on the Union members while complying with the directives on passengers reduction.

“We have passed information to our members from the onset of the Governor’s directives, but from the Governor’s broadcast two days ago, we realized that not all our members are complying. So, we have directed our Zonal Chairmen to monitor the activities of commercial vehicle operators across the state, and anywhere they found out that a branch or unit Chairman is unable to enforce the government’s directives, the person should be suspended from office immediately.

“Reducing the number of passengers will affect drivers adversely, the government should, as a sacrifice, reduce the price of daily tickets to cushion the effects on our members because the price of tickets is still same, so some of the transporters cannot meet up, especially those on high purchase and those who give account to the vehicle owners.

“If where our members have been carrying five passengers, you now tell them to carry two or three passengers and their financial commitment remains the same, obviously it has effect on transporters. Everybody should understand that we are in a sacrifice situation and we are trying our best to make the sacrifice we can. On our own part, we are ready to comply and carry the needed number of passengers as directed by government.

“We are appealing to the state government to look into the situation of our members, if possible stop the daily scratch card collection, let it be government own sacrifice. Banks are not fully opening, the economy is very hard on people, they should at least hold on to the road tax collection, so it will be easy for transporters to comply with the passenger reduction without increasing transport fare, and for the members of the public not be aversely affected too much”

Also, the State Chairman Tricycle Section of National Union of Road Transport Workers, Comrade Benjamin Ibigwe, said any Tricycle operator who fails to comply with carrying only two passengers should risk his Tricycle being impounded.

“All tricycle operators should from Monday, 20th April 2020, carry two passengers only, any person who carries more than two passengers, we will deal with such a person. Henceforth, the Union doesn’t want any attach of a passenger at the front seat or three passengers at the back seat.

“We urge them to obey and save the lives of Rivers people, this is not the time to make money, but time to save lives. Since Governor Nyesom Wike has blocked all the borders, lets us save ourselves by obeying the instructions of the Governor, any tricycle operator who refuses to obey the law, we will have no option than to impound his tricycle”

Recall that the River State government had directed road transport workers on passenger reduction, to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the state.