By Substance Nature
Curbing touting and illegal loading by Commercial Drivers in Akwa Ibom have caused many problems for commuters.
Observation has revealed that hardly a day goes by without one form of accident or another caused by a certain set of out-law drivers who take delight in despising the law.
This they do with their reckless hurry to outrun one another, and the frantic attempts to escape apprehension by a no less dangerous Monitoring Team or Task Force purportedly dispatched from the Ministry of Transport.
In the operational parlance, “touting” is the act of illegal loading or off-loading of passengers outside of governments’ designated and approved locations and motor parks.
The Udua Ekpa Junction in particular has so far proven too much of a touting stronghold, to be delivered of the malaise of touts who load the Uyo-Calabar route.
Curbing touting, observably also, drivers plying the Uyo Ikot-Ekpene and the Uyo-Oron routes are predominantly guilty of this act.
These drivers, would rather choose to scout or roam the streets, the roads and the highways in search of passengers.
According to investigations, touting is motivated by a factors such as the exorbitant and discouraging high charges instituted by the motor park managers and park authorities.
Meanwhile, these high charges which should have accrued to the vehicle owners and the drivers, rather get splitted into disproportionate units by the “Lords of the Park”, leaving the drivers and the vehicle owners with very little; while the heartless profiteers take home the lion share.
Shockingly, these same deprived drivers and vehicle owners must still have to pay some other associated mandatory charges and levies even at the motor park gates.
These have given rise to a situation which the victims describe as “monkey day work, Baboom dey Chop”.
Another factor which gives rise to touting is where some higher stakeholders of the motor parks fleets of vehicles which by entrenched procedures must be allocated turns ahead of others not so favored by position.
Insider opinion reveals that these principals take advantage of their offices to manipulate the sequence to ensure that their vehicles get fasters and more frequent “turn” allocations to the detriment and the displeasure of others.
The consequence of this is that some drivers wait in line without getting the privilege to load their vehicles for hours and days.
There are also vehicles branded as the “untouchables” or special vehicles.
These are vehicles which belong to some VIPs in the society or to top shots in government.
The drivers of such vehicles apart from the special privileges, also get “cover notes” to freely tout around town in conspiracy with official monitoring teams who would not dare to question their excesses or unlawful operations.
Other reasons are the negative attitude and actions of born deviants who break laws no matter the possible consequences.
These factors have made some would-have-been law abiding drivers feel so cheated that they resort to improvised methods to break even by picking up passengers wherever they can find them.
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Therefore, It is pertinent to warn that existing laws against illegal loading and offloading of passengers within the Uyo Capital City are still in force.
All drivers must thereby use the official loading points these Include the Itam Main Park, the Akwa Ibom Transport Corporation located at the Itam Industrial Area, as well as the Nung Oku, and Ifa Government approved Motorparks.
To curb the incessant incidence of accidents, near death scenarios and fatality, everything possible must be done to enforce the Law as a different while monetary penalties should be plowed back for park maintenance and other sundry needs.
Desperate passengers must realize the risk to their life and luggage through patronizing potentially dangerous persons who camouflage as drivers.
Relevant government agencies should look critically into the purported cut throat changes and other unlawful acts perpetrated by the park managers, and a thing of the past.
Assuredly, if the tenets of justice and fair play are adhered to, touting and illegal loading would become unattractive and unprofitable to the defaulters.
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