ABUJA – The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is set to come out with a legal framework to strengthen the ban on the operations of un-registered un-painted commercial vehicles in the FCT.
Mr Ifeanyi Ughamadu, the Head, Public Relations, Transport Secretariat, FCTA, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday that the operations of such vehicles were illegal and security risks to motorists.
He, however, said that the delay in the legal framework had not hindered the administration from stalling the operations of the illegal commercial operators.
“We are coming up with legal framework to have it property backed up by the law; in the next few weeks this law will be out.
“We have packaged the legal document and sent to the relevant quarters for final legal work.
“But that does not prevent us from hunting down these illegal operators because their activities are a security risk to the motorists and the pedestrians.
“We have mandated all the relevant law enforcement agencies – VIO, military, Civil Defense, police – to go after these unpainted taxis because their operation is illegal; it is not accommodated or accepted by the government.
“Their operation is not in line with the purpose for which the vehicle they are using is meant for.
“The colour code for the vehicle they are using is for private purposes and they are using it for other purposes outside that purpose for which the number plate indicates.
“It’s a gradual process but we are impounding them, we are putting so much heat on them; majority of them are converting their vehicles to taxis now to avoid this embarrassment on the road.’’
Ughamadu recalled that a deadline which expired on Oct. 1 was given to all commercial operators to paint and duly register their vehicles or cease operating within the FCT.
He said the registration entailed each commercial operator registering the vehicles with any of the licensed taxi operators’ associations.
Ughamadu added that thereafter their bio-data would be captured in the transport secretariat of the FCT for the purpose of accountability and security.
“After your bio-data is captured and entered into our database, a number different from the number plate is issued which is written boldly on the taxi and it is used to identify the driver.’’
He explained that the number plate for private and commercial vehicles attracted different fees upon purchase.
“So anybody who uses a private car for commercial purposes is short changing the government which makes it illegal.’’
Ughamadu said that any violator caught would be arraigned before a magistrates court and the appropriate punishment given to such a person.
He, therefore, called on residents of the FCT to stop patronising un-painted commercial vehicles for their safety.
“We are telling the public, stop patronising unpainted taxis; it is not good for your security, and they are short changing the system, that is, the government.
“We are telling them to patronise only registered painted taxis; some taxis maybe painted with Abuja colour yet they are not registered because the bio-data of such drivers are not captured in our database.
“As it is today in Nigeria you cannot track down anybody based on the number plate but with these numbers we have on the body of the taxis you can track down the information about any taxi operator in FCT.’’ (NAN)