…threatens to embark of peaceful protest
By Innocent Anaba
Operators of POWA Mass Transit Scheme, have cried out over their continuingÂ harassment and intimidation by the police, saying that since the vehicles in the fleet of the scheme were repeatedly arrested and detained, many of the drivers have been forced out of jobs with its attendant consequences on their families.
Engr Leonard Aguozor, Managing Director of Don Dee Multi Resources Ltd, the operator of POWA Mass Transit Scheme, is further alleging that the wife of the Inspector General of Police, has been using the police to harass the drivers of the buses under the scheme.
Tracing the origin of the scheme, Aguozor said â€œdue to uncontrolled demands of the so called revenue collectors (road tax) of local, state and federal levels, a contract was drawn in Abuja between the Police Officers Wives Association and Powa Mass Transit Ltd, which was duly executed and each party in this agreement given an obligation to perform.
â€œThe contract was concluded and signed by POWA immediate President, Chief Hera Okiro and some lawyers from the two sides. Though the past POWA president frowned when she saw the C.A.C registration certificate of POWA Mass Transit, claiming POWA is their name and no body else should use it for any kind of business without their approval.
The team of lawyers lectured her on the difference between the dotted abbreviation letters known as P.O.W.A Mass Transit Ltd as a registered name and Police Officers Wives Association.
â€œShe was toldÂ that the registration of police officers wives association was not for mass transit in Nigeria, as it was only powa mass transit ltd, that can do mass transit business in this country without interruption from anybodyâ€.
On the harassment faced by the transit operators, he said â€œit is very unlawful, unjust for police to take instructions straight from the wife of Inspector General of Police, who is a private citizen, without having a second thought or conducting proper investigation on assumption of an allegation of any crime.
In the memorandum of understanding between the parties, there is an arbitration clause which requires both parties to constitute an arbitration panel to sort out their differences and not for police to intermeddle in the smooth running of Powa Mass transit Ltd business with Police Officers Wives Association just like that.
â€œThis matter is a civil matter and not because the wife of IG, who is an ordinary member of the society is involved. She should lay her report or complaint officially and police should investigate the matter if there is any crime alleged and or allow the parties to sort themselves out through an arbitration panel as agreed in the memorandum of understanding.
â€œThe IG is a learned person and knows the law to the dot. There is no way IG will support such act knowing that the transport business was not owned and managed by the Police Officers Wives Association. It is somebodyâ€™s business, who had an agreement to pay some percentage to Police Officers Wives Association for their name attached to the business, which percentage the contractor has never failed to pay.
â€œThe truth of the matter is that the wife of the IG can not make an official warrant/order to police, she cannot give such invalid order. From what is happening now, it is clear that the Inspector General of Police and his commissioners in different states may not have known what is going on.
â€œWe are still paying powa ten times what we agreed upon since the contract was signed, direct into their account. Each amount paid covers 12 months from that month because it is an annual business. Now that the poor masses who operate theÂ mass transit have paid their registration money to police officers wives association, the next thing was to illegally arrest and detain them and their vehicles for days and they in turn pay huge amount to police for their bail and release of their vehicles.
How can police say that the registration is fake without investigation? What has police got to do with registration of a company or enforcement of an agreement? All these questions are begging for answers from the Police.
â€œWe will soon go on a peaceful demonstration if they donâ€™t stop disturbing our vehicles and personnel while waiting for the courts to resume because we are losing not less than N1.2 billion every day by this unwarranted police brutality.
All we know, is that police wrongfully arrested our vehicles for no reason what so ever because we have not committed any crime in doing business with Police Officers Wives Association and there is no report that our drivers have committed any crime with Powa Mass Transit Limited vehiclesâ€, he added.