Gift Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) has unequivocally condemned the recent directive by the Transportation Department of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to the effect that all taxis operating in the territory must be air-conditioned before October 1, 2018.
This directive it said is misguided, dictatorial and draconian,adding that to all intents and purposes, it is an elitist ploy to push ordinary citizens, struggling to make ends meet through engagement in the transportation sector out of the space, and engineer a takeover of the sector by dubious politicians posing as investors.
According to the Executive Director,Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M Zikirullahi, “Without prejudice to the discretion of the authorities to regulate transportation in the territory, this particular directive on air-condition in taxis is to say the least, a wicked ploy to undermine the livelihood of many ordinary citizens who engage in public transportation within the territory as a means of making ends meet, especially in the face of the harsh economic situation in the country.
“With unemployment standing at an all-time high, due to government’s failure to create jobs through the right policies, it is untenable to use half-hearted elitist ploys to push Nigerians out of jobs in any sector” he said.
CHRICED called on the transport unions and other Nigerians likely to be affected by the directive to organize and use all lawful means to resist it.
“For us, the time is past when a government department would just wake up and whimsically make a directive which would do incalculable damage to the livelihood of thousand of citizens depending on a particular sector for survival. If the government is so concerned about convenience of taxi users in the territory, it should design a scheme and create a phased approach to help operators in the sector acquire the kind of vehicles it wants to be used in the territory, not to introduce a knee-jerk policy that is ill-digested and does not reflect the sociological realities on the ground” he added.
CHRICED expressed firm view that this directive is not well considered, and that it is a demonstration of incompetence, stressing that the official behind it should be fired for sheer lack of competence, and for attempting to unjustly disrupt the livelihoods of millions of families to justify some weird elitist posturing.
CHRICED further said that, “This ill digested directive must therefore not stand, and must be rejected by those who would be affected by its serious implication. Nobody, no matter how highly placed should be allowed to experiment with the livelihoods of citizens, especially when the government has not provided viable economic alternatives”.
You would recall that the FCT Administration gave an order that before October 2018, All Abuja Taxis Must; Be AC-fitted; Carry Red Plate Numbers; Be registered within the FCT; Have two certificates of road worthiness and all taxi drivers must show evidence of tax payment.