…reads riot act to illegal operators, drug peddlers
Ogun State government has threatened to sanction operators of trailers and other articulated vehicles causing obstruction along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other highways in the state during the yuletide.
It also warned those issuing unauthorised tickets and traders engaging in sales of illicit drugs in various motor parks in the state to desist henceforth or face the wrath of the law.
The Chairman, Ogun State Parks and Garages Development Agency (PAGADA), Hon. Abeeb Ajayi, read the riot act on Thursday shortly after the inaugural meeting of the board members of the agency in Abeokuta.
Ajayi, who briefed reporters at the end of the meeting, said the agency will collaborate with security agencies, including the Police and Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), to rid parks and garages of hoodlums and drug peddlers.
According to him, the board has the mandate of Governor Dapo Abiodun to carry out necessary reforms and ensure compliance to safety, security and environmental regulations in parks and garages across the state.
He disclosed that a planned meeting with various transport unions and associations in the state would further discuss modalities towards achieving the objectives of the agency.
He added that there was urgent need to have the database of all operators in the industry towards proper sanitisation of their operations.
Ajayi said the state government was seriously working to clear Ogere, Mowe and Ibafo, among other areas along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, of needless traffic congestion, adding that a mobile court has already been deployed to sanction drivers engaging in indiscriminate parking on the highway.
He said, “Anybody operating in our parks and garages without our registration should note that the Board of PAGADA is not going to take that any longer. We want to have a database and we want to know those who are operating in our industry.
“We are not ready to interfere in the affairs of the individual unions, neither are we concerned about what goes on as their internal arrangement. Anybody issuing tickets without the authority of the agency should know that it is illegal. A lot of introduction of tickets and levies are going on in our parks and garages.
“The Board has equally resolved to also look at these parks and garages and send a warning signal to those who are selling illicit drugs in our parks to immediately desist. We are going to get the security agencies to pursue them out.
“Because this is Christmas season, we have resolved with other sister agencies, including security operatives, to sanitise the expressway. Mowe-Ibafo axis should be cleared off. People should go to the parks to pick their passengers. And again, the people operating at Ogere trailer park should be reasonable with their parking.
“As we speak, there is a stand-by mobile court in Ogere with the operatives of Federal Road Safety Corps and other sister organisations joining in this operation. During this yuletide period, we must make our highway very free.”
The chairman, who stressed that “it won’t be business as usual” with regards to the operations of his agency, denied claims that government was collecting levies from traders encroaching on the road.
On some of the reforms being planned, Ajayi said his agency was considering the possibility of introducing an insurance policy for all who make use of various parks and garages in the state.
“We are looking at the possibility of having insurance for people who are making use of the parks so that in case of an accident, insurance can come in at no extra cost to the passengers,” he stated.
Ajayi pointed out that efficiency and quality service delivery remained the watchword of the agency in the discharge of its duties.
“What we are trying to do is to ensure that we have information about those who are operating in the industry. It’s not all about making money. It’s about giving service to the people and that is the position of the Governor of Ogun State, that we should make our parks accessible and free of hoodlums and that is exactly what we are trying to do,” he added.