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Thuggery in Enugu State transport ministry?

Thuggery in Enugu State transport ministry? ,Thuggery in Enugu State transport ministry? ,Thuggery in Enugu State transport ministry?

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By Robert Nwokoro

There is a popular traffic enforcement cadets known as “MOT” operating majorly in Enugu Metropolis whose relationship with vehicle and tricycle operators in the state is taking an unusual dimension.

For the avoidance of doubt, the acronym “MOT” is the Ministry of Transport (MOT) in full. However, it is used to refer to the members of the organisation by road users in the state.

As noted by the then Commissioner of Transport, Hon. Vitus Okechi in 2017 when this current regime of MOT cadets were inaugurated, the cadets are to ensure a decent, civilized and effective management of traffic rules and regulations in the state.

As I further learnt, these cadets before their inauguration, had intensive orientation course to prepare them for the job. The idea was simply to help in traffic management and nothing more.

Sadly, some members of the organization, going by their recent conducts, leave one asking the question of whether thuggery has found its place in the Ministry.

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I therefore assume that it is either these cadet members do not understand the scope of their powers or that they have chosen to abuse it or use same for their private and collective interests.

Some members of the organisation are practically making the enforcement of traffic rules impossible with their weird but very irritating and primitive behaviour, which has resulted in many open confrontations with road users especially tricycle operators who are obviously their soft targets.

One disturbing case on the activities of MOT that inspired this write-up was the problem it had with a female police constable who recently gave birth through complications.

The scene was at Mayor Bus Stop, Agbani Road. It was a hot noon and the constable was brought to the market by her younger brother to buy foodstuffs. The MOT told them that their car was wrongly parked and denied them access to the car key.

The constable who was on mufti also had her baby sleeping in the car. She approached the MOT Commandant and told him to instruct his men to allow them go but the commandant told her to go settle with his men.

She pleaded for the car key, stating her condition and her baby who is right there trapped in the car, but MOT wouldn’t listen.

When things fell out of control, fight ensued between the younger brother of the Constable and a member of the MOT, the former was overpowered when he dared to collect the car key from the latter.

In a bid to halt further escalations, the constable intervened but got a slight knock on her abdomen. That was it, as she found her head leaning on the bonnet.

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At this point, other road users and marketers stopped-by to intervene on the matter, thereby causing more terrible gridlock on the already-congested road.

After some time, the constable revealed her identity to the MOT as an officer of the Nigeria Police Force and phoned her husband afterwards. It was not long after the phone call that two military vans rode arrogantly into the scene and had some members of the MOT parked inside the hot van and took them away.

Cases also abound where vehicle and tricycle operators had their tricycles confiscated for ”allowing their passengers descend” from their vehicles or tricycles at places designated as “No Parking” areas, even as the operators would make it known to their passengers that they are not allowed to drop people at such places unless they get to the nearest bus stop. Rather than understand this simple fact, the MOT would aggressively halt their movement until a ransom is paid for their freedom.

Another notorious scenario is what the MOT called “breaching the rule of traffic lights”.

Road users especially commercial operators have been fined heavily by MOT for “breaching the rule of traffic lights”.

This happens for instance where passengers descend from a vehicle or tricycle in front of a traffic light without the intention of the operators.

It is a complicated scenario which in any case, the action do not naturally flow from the operators but from the passengers and would have the operators suffering the consequences.

Let’s not forget that some impatient passengers who cannot endure or wait for the traffic lights to turn green, will most likely descend from the vehicle or tricycle against the intention of the operators, but the MOT would hold the operators’ ransom and use them for extortion experiment.

This shouldn’t be so. In as much as the operators comply with the traffic rules, it will be wrong for the organisation to continue to impound and extort commercial operators on frivolous claims.

As long as road safety is of serious concern to the state, education and orientation part of it should also be extended to the passengers too.

There’s absolutely every reason to enthrone discipline in the system that will make everyone understand his roles, such that where a passenger defaults, drivers would not be held culpable.

Enugu State Capital Development Authority (ESCDA) should consider installing new traffic lights as well as maintaining the existing ones.

The use of traffic regulation signs and lights is more user-friendly than the ancient practice of using human beings to control traffic.

The use of modern technologies for traffic control won’t be much of a problem for Enugu residents, because our society harbours one of the most civilized and advanced minds in the world.

The continuous use of manual labour as we have in MOT, will only lead to thuggery and retrogression.

As most roads in Enugu are congested due to lack of expansion and multiple dualisation, Government should start seeing the construction of fly-overs in places like Holy Ghost, Mayor Bus Stop, Camp, Ogui, Abapa, Presidential Road, ESBS, Gariki and host of other busy areas in the state as important and inevitable infrastructural necessities.

The construction of pedestrian-flyovers on busy areas such as mentioned above is necessary to help pedestrians easy access to both ends of the road. This will not only curtail traffic but also prevent accidents.

Robert Nwokoro, a writer and Human Rights Advocate writes from Enugu.

4Nigerians News Nigeria.

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