Following its directive on social distancing, particularly with regards to overloading of vehicles, the Federal Capital Territory FCT Administration has impounded 72 vehicles whose drivers had continued to carry two passengers on the front seat.
Chairman, FCT Ministerial Task Team on Traffic Management, Ikharo Attah, told journalists on Monday in Abuja that the 72 vehicles were impounded across the territory by enforcement teams comprising men of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Directorate of Road Traffic Services and the Nigerian Police Force.
The Administration had at the weekend said as part of measures to control the spread of the Coronavirus, taxis operating in the territory must ensure that their vehicles are not overloaded.
“I was at Nyanya this morning where we observed the level of compliance. I observed at Dutse-Alhaji, Area One by Rain Oil and from what I gathered from different government agencies, about 72 cars were impounded as at 12noon today.
“The Federal Road Safety Corps, the VIO and other agencies have been working together to impound the vehicles of erring drivers and penalise them in line with the stipulated rules.
“What I see is that they have been able to discourage those who carry two or three passengers at the front. We have also been encouraging transporters to carry only three passengers at the back. Usually they carry four passengers at the back but we want to discourage that. So far, all relevant agencies have been effecting arrest and as the days go by, the number of impounded vehicles is likely to increase”, he said.
According to him, the administration is currently discussing with drivers of high capacity buses to reduce or even eliminate a situation whereby some passengers are made to stand in such buses.
Attah added that the enforcement team is also trying to discourage overcrowding at the entry points where conductors will have some people hanging with him.
“Though we have not been able to make any arrest on that one yet, we are hoping that by Monday we will commence intensive enforcement on high capacity buses, to discourage those who are standing and those who hang around the doors.
“But we are appealing to commercial motorists particularly those of high capacity buses to please leave their windows open for proper ventilation
and ensure passengers by the windows leave them open because often times passengers by the window side want to take air that is sufficient for them without considering other passengers inside the buses.”
On the penalty for overloading, Attah said each government agency that got the directive of the FCTA operates in line with extant laws of the agencies.
”The Police have laws against overloading DRTS, Road Safety all have laws against overloading but I think the major penalty is that the vehicles will be impounded and necessary fines paid to government before they are freed”.
He said the enforcement against overloading will be sustained even after the Coronavirus challenge has been tamed.