Saturday, 4 August 2018

Security Coding of Commercial vehicles is strictly a security affair, has nothing to do with me – CTRA boss

|04 August 2018 | Ukorebi Esien

The chairman Commercial Transport Regulatory Agency (CTRA), Mr. Umoh Bassey, has said that the ongoing security coding of commercial transport vehicles comprising of taxis, tricycle, buses, etc has nothing to do with his office but entirely the initiative of the State Security Adviser.

Mr. Bassey made this known while clearing some gray areas concerning the recent protest embarked upon by a section of commercial taxi drivers in the state as it borders on security coding of commercial vehicles. The transport boss said although the act that gave birth to the agency empowers him to regulate activities of commercial vehicles in the state, notwithstanding, the recent security coding has nothing to do with his agency.

He further revealed that he had in May 2018 received a memo from the office of the State Security Adviser to attend a meeting where they were briefed on the security coding for commercial vehicles operators. He said the SSA had told them the decision was arrived at in the presence of the Governor during one of the state’s Security Council meetings.  

Mr. Bassey further said that he later called for a meeting with all the unions and stakeholders where he briefed them on the recent development and members had no issue with the development. He, therefore,, wonders how they will all of a sudden revolt against the same issue they had subscribed to, talk more of attaching his name to the security coding of commercial vehicles.
Anybody who has an issue with the new coding should meet with the SSA for further clarification”. He advised.

In an interview with Pastor Thomas Effiong Okon, the Chairman of Unified Taxi Drivers Association, he informed our correspondent that he was in both meetings the SSA and the one the CTRA chairman called for the unions and they were all briefed on the security coding, he further revealed that none of his members were opposed to the development as about 80% of his members have already complied with the development.

He further stated that the Coding was conceived and implemented by the Office of the SSA and the use of the union’s office was based on the fact the SSA’s office was inside the governor’s office where taxi drivers cant access, therefore there was a need to use a central office where the drivers are already familiar with.

When asked why the operators were asked to pay the sum of Two Thousand Naira for the coding, he simply said that he was acting based on instructions from above. The union leader further asked why he hasn’t been arrested if he was illegally extorting monies from his union members.

In a telephone chat with our correspondent, the State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji said the security for all commercial operators in Calabar was necessary as it will help curb the many crimes associated with taxi drivers and Keke Napep riders. He further explained that his office couldn’t rely on CTRA to supply an effective database because of the security implications.
When asked why the operators needed to pay money to be coded, he denied requesting money from anybody but rather advised that the operators settle any money issues with their union leaders.

“I have not asked anybody to pay money to anybody for coding, my concern is to code the vehicles, If they have an issue with money they should go and settle it with their leaders”. He said.
“… I have no business with any payment but the vehicles must be coded. When the task force is set up, I will remove any vehicle(s) from the road. He added. 

Upon further investigations, our correspondent discovered that the Special Assistant to the governor, Department of Public Transport (DOPT), Mr. Emmanuel Mbora is actually behind all the brouhaha that is currently plaguing the CTRA, SSA and the Union leaders as regards the ongoing security coding of commercial vehicle operators.
An insider who prefers his identity to be hidden disclosed to our correspondent that the SA had held a secret meeting with some taxi drivers where he told them not to accept the security coding that is being introduced.
“All I can tell you is that the SA DOPT met with some taxi drivers, and asked the drivers not to comply with the security coding number asking them to lead a protest where he will come and address them”.  The source said.
“He also told them to stop paying their welfare dues.  That they should lead a protest where he will come to address them. I can categorically tell you that the protest you saw that day was staged managed by the SA, DOPT. The demonstration had nothing to do with the chairman of CTRA but the SA DOPT”. He concluded.

Ukorebi Esien blogs for TDN where he tells the Nigerian story just the way it is, one article at a time.

All views are mine.