Plateau truck drivers reject restriction on movement, declare sit-at-home

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Transporters and other trade unions in Plateau State under the auspices of Plateau State Joint Transport, Traders and Marketers Association, on Tuesday, announced that there would be a sit-at-home across the state on Wednesday, April 4, 2024.

The spokesperson for the group, Abubakar Garba, who disclosed this at a press conference in Jos, the state capital, on Tuesday said their action was intended to voice out their rejection of the executive order signed by the state governor, Caleb Mutfwang.

 

The PUNCH reports that Mutfwang had last month signed Executive Order No. 003, 2024, to control the illegal erection of buildings and traffic jams in the state.

 

The General Manager of Jos Metropolitan Development Board, Hart Bankat, said the executive order became imperative considering the indiscriminate manner in which buildings were being erected and traffic control abysmally degenerated within the Greater Jos Master plan as well as the prevalence of building collapse in the state.

The executive order restricted trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles from coming into the Central Business Area (Jos-Bukuru Metropolis) from 6 am to 9 pm, while vehicles of defaulters shall be impounded and the drivers of same shall be liable to pay a fine of N500,000.

 

However, on Tuesday, the spokesman for the Plateau State Joint Transport, Traders and Marketers Association, Abubakar Garba, who led other members of the association to a press conference in Jos, rejected the executive order, describing it as an infringement on their fundamental human rights and inimical to business survival in the state.

 

He noted that at the moment, no truck owners are willing to convey goods from other states to Plateau State as a result of the executive order.

Garba, who lamented the seizure of their trucks by task force officials, called for their immediate release.

 

He said, “The last time we checked, we found out that the roads which the government is barricading for us not to follow belong to the Federal Government in which the Federal Government constructed it to ease movement from one state to another and for vehicles within the country.

 

“Based on this development, restricting any vehicular movement on those roads is an infringement on our fundamental rights of movement as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We therefore call on the government of Plateau State to retract its steps on this executive order by releasing our impounded trucks immediately, providing designated routes for trucks, allowing trucks moving goods to their states like Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Borno and Jigawa states to use the bye pass roads to their destinations.

 

“We further urge the government to construct test terminals for the efficient working of the executive order and also to reduce the restriction time from 9 pm to 6am to 5pm-7 am to reduce the hardship faced by truck owners and the high cost of goods and services by the citizens.

“We will continue to use all available legal means for the enforcement of our fundamental rights even as we have resolved to declare tomorrow Wednesday, April 3, 2024, as a warning strike to sit at home to show our dissatisfaction with the sad executive order 003,2024 and we shall continue until a lasting solution is found”

 

When contacted, the state Commissioner for Information, Musa Ashoms, said government officials were in a meeting with leaders of the trade union to resolve grey areas concerning the executive order, which he said has come to stay.

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