Ahead of Christmas celebrations, the Anambra state government has put plans on top gear to ensure smooth ride, peace and tranquility on all roads in the State.
The plans will also allow holiday makers hitch free celebration as they journey into Anambra for the yuletide.
Correspondent, Ngozi Obileri reports that this was the outcome of a meeting held by the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Afam Mbanefo with leaders of various transport unions and associations in Anambra at the Jerome Udorji Secretariat complex Awka.
Also at the meeting, Anambra state government unveiled its arrangements with a Non-Governmental Organization, Shoulders for Gender Support and Development Initiative, to provide succor for travelers; especially the less privileged ones who cannot afford transport fare to their destinations and rather resort to boarding vehicles outside designated loading bays.
Addressing the meeting, Commissioner Mbanefo said government is aware of hardship and numerous taxations on bus drivers, which in turn affect cost of transportation, and has decided to put an end to such acts permanently, especially now that Christmas is around the corner.
He explained that most of those levies and taxes did not emanate from the government and wondered why leaders of various unions should allow such to happen when they know those who perpetrate such acts.
The Commissioner warned that it will no longer be business as usual, and called on the union leaders to strengthen and bring list of members of the task force groups to his office, as government will hold them accountable in any event of fake ticketing.
The Commissioner stressed the need to bring to an end loading outside bays or motor parks by drivers; which he said is the major cause of touting and the reason people enter ‘‘one-chance’’ vehicles and expose themselves to risks.
Briefing the union leaders on behalf of the NGO that would handle the Assisted Mass Transit Project, Mr Oluebube Ngige said the NGO has limited resources, but is getting support from donor agencies and individuals to aid those who wish to travel, especially the less privileged, who he said have lost their lives by boarding unregistered vehicles along the road, all in a bid to get to their destination at a cheaper rate.
On behalf of Consolidated Alliance Group, the body that would work with various motor parks authorities for the Assisted Mass Transit Project, Mr. Chidi Kanu said their numbers would be placed on every park for reduction of transport fare to fifty percent for those affected, while the body pays up the remaining fifty percent to the park leadership after thorough investigation to ascertain that beneficiary is eligible to assess the assistance.
Present at the meeting were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Dr Emman Udeakpeh, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security and Commander of Enforcement Team in the Ministry, Mr. Chiejina Obieze, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on ATMA, Chief Angus Ibezim, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Transport and Supervisor Anambra state Vehicle Inspection Officers Mr Ralph Okoye, Managing Director of ATMA, Mr. Chidi Umezinwa, among others.