12th July, 2011
Enforcement of traffic rules in Calabar, Cross River State is set to go beyond day time as the Department of Public Transportation [DOPT] will soon add night shift to its work schedule to ensure compliance with the laid down rules and regulations on motoring in the state capital.
Mr. Effiom Edem Ekong, the Special Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke on Public Transportation, revealed this in an interview in his office, saying the introduction of shift in traffic rules enforcement is to make sure motorists do not run foul of the law at any time they are on the wheels as the state government is determined to maintain law and order on its roads for 24 hours.
In order to implement the new measures, the DOPT recently recruited 120 men and women who are currently undergoing training at the Ministry of Works Training School in Calabar. Once this set graduate, Ekong said, another batch of mostly old traffic officers will be sent to the school too in order to bring professionalism to bear on their job.
When the training of both the old and new is over, the department will work out a duty roster that will cover day and night. Through this, motorists will no more get away with their offences nor will the department be denied revenue for offences committed by such defaulting vehicle owners.
â€œWe are training road marshals, assistant supervisors, supervisors and vehicle inspection officers [VIO]. Out of the 120 recruits, we have 20 VIOs and 100 marshals, supervisors, and assistant supervisors. The road marshals and supervisors are university graduates, while assistant supervisors are holders of the NCE and VIO school certificate holders.
â€œThey are being trained by the police, Federal Road Safety Commission [FRSC] and army. LASTMA will come in at the end of the training. They are trained on vehicle documentation, road worthiness of vehicles, emergency, how to be polite to motorists, handling of emergency cases including accident on the road. On graduation, it is expected that the image of DOPT will improve as these staff will have a new orientation,â€ he said.
Ekong advised law abiding citizens not to be worried by the activities of DOPT because â€œonce they follow the rules they have nothing to fear. We have noticed a little inconvenience on the part of members of the public but it is for their own good. The era of lawlessness on the road is over. We want order on our roads because Calabar is a tourist destination and gateway too.â€
Commenting on the state of Metro Blue buses, the governorâ€™s aide said some of the vehicles have been refurbished and hired out, 20 are now plying various routes in Calabar just as another set is being repaired. The management of these buses was contracted by the former administration of Donald Duke to ABC Motors.
He bemoaned the misuse of the taxi cabs procured by the state government in partnership with private investors by drivers, saying there was little government can do in telling drivers how to drive their vehicles adding that once the need arises, another set of taxi cabs will be made available under the subsisting arrangement.
On the diversion of traffic coming from the Ika-Ika Oqua market at the U J Esuene stadium, Calabar following the demarcation of the road with median, the Special Adviser said government was working on King Street at Big Qua Town for vehicles coming from the market to divert through to the Murtala Mohammed Highway for onward movement to any part of Calabar.
By Emma Una, Calabar