Commercial drivers on Tuesday staged roadblocks on major roads in Benin, the Edo State capital, to protest the enforcement of colour code by the state government as well as some ticket levies which they considered outrageous.
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.
One of the drivers, Samuel Omoriege, said the state government should consider the present economic situation before giving them short notice. He urged the government to give them six months before the enforcement.
“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 job.
“For instance, I am a graduate of Auchi Polytechnic. It is unemployment that drove me into this job. So, we need time to raise money for the code and painting,” he said.
Another driver, 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 except for Sunday when they pay N800.
“Where is government imposing levy on Sunday if not to mount further hardship on commercial drivers? We urge Governor Godwin Obaseki to rescind the anti-people policy in order to restore law and order,” he added.
Addressing the protesters, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Transportation, Mr Washington Abbe, said he would convey their request to the governor, while assuring that all the vehicles impounded by the task force would be released.