By Ozioruva Aliu, BENIN CITY
THERE was chaotic scenes across major roads in Benin City for the better part of yesterday as residents along Sapele Road continued their second day protest against the bad portion of the Sapele by-pass which has created gridlock around the area.
While that was on, all other roads in the city including the Government Reservation Area (GRA) were blocked as drivers of commercial vehicles protested the enforcement of their compliance to the announced state colours implementation for commercial vehicles.
The drivers in their numbers blocked the busy Sapele road, Ring road, Ugbowo road, Aduwawa, First East Circular road and Akpapava to show their grievances.
The state government has directed that Salon cars pay N20, 000 for the colour code and N30, 000 for buses.
A driver, Samuel Omoriege said the state government was insensitive to the prevailing economic conditions when it gave a month’s notice to obtain colour code and paint their buses in Edo colour.
He said “We are not saying we will not pay, but the notice is too short. Government is not sensitive to our condition.
“Some of us are graduates without jobs. For instance, I am a graduate of Auchi Polytechnic:it is unemployment that drove me into this. So we need time to raise money for the code and painting,” he said.
Also, James Akpotarie said the recent policies of the government to drive revenue in the state were too unfavorable to transport workers.
Akpotarie said the government had just recently reviewed the daily ticket fee from N600 to N1800 and Sunday, N800.
But when contacted the Commissioner for Transportation, Osasere Evbouman said “This is just the implementation of the announcement made by a task force set up by the deputy governor, Comrade Philip Shaibu when he acted as governor last month while the governor was on leave. We are profiling all the commercial vehicle drivers and owners but we have agreed to give the commercial drivers till December to comply with the colour code which has always been there but not being enforced. The issue is not just for commercial vehicle drivers for every vehicle owner and driver. This is to ensure security of lives and properties of the people of the state.”