Colour Code: Irate commercial drivers protest, block Benin roads
Commercial drivers in Benin on Tuesday staged a protest and blocked major roads in the Edo capital to remonstrate against the enforcement of colour code by Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration.
The drivers in their numbers blocked the busy Sapele road, Ring road, Ugbowo road, Aduwawa, First East Circular road and Akpapava to vent their grievances.
The roadblocks caused heavy gridlock in the ancient city, leaving many passengers stranded.
Samuel Omoriege, one of the protesters, said the government was insensitive to the economic hardship when it gave a month’s notice to obtain colour code and paint their buses in Edo colour.
Mr Omoriege said the government should give them six months before the enforcement.
“We are not saying we will not pay. But the notice is too short. The government is not sensitive to our condition. Some of us are graduates without jobs,” he explained. “For instance, I am a graduate of Auchi Polytechnic. It is unemployment that drove into this. So we need time to raise money for the code and painting.”
James Akpotarie, another protester, said the recent policies of the government to drive revenue in Edo were unfavourable to transport workers.
Mr Akpotarie said the government had recently reviewed the daily ticket fee from N600 to N1,800 and on Sunday N800.
“Where is the government working on Sunday if not to mount further hardship on commercial drivers. We urge Governor Obaseki to rescind the anti-people policy in order to restore law and order,” said the driver.
Addressing the protesters, Washington Abbe, the permanent secretary in the ministry of transportation, said he would convey their request to the governor.
Mr Abbe, however, noted that to appease them, all the vehicles impounded would be released while the task force would also relax the enforcement pending the government’s position on their request.
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