RTEAN operations will improve revenue, sanity in Anambra transport sector
Stakeholders have said that Anambra government and public transport operators will mutually benefit more if Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) is allowed to operate in the state.
The stakeholders who spoke in separate interview decried the level of revenue loss to the government and multiple levies laid by operators because of lack organisation and multiplicity of agents allegedly collecting tolls on behalf of government.
From information available not less than 10 unions are selling tickets and some of them like Urban Bus Drivers Welfare Association of Nigeria (UDWAAS), Anambra Drivers Mass Transit Company (ADMTC), New Commuter Welfare Association of Onitsha (NCDWAO) to mention but a few are registered with the CAC.
But in spite of this number of revenue collectors, Anambra government still suffer huge leakage as confirmed by Dr. Christian Madubuko, the immediate past commissioner for transport in the state
Recall that Madubuko who carried out series of arrest through a Focus Initiative Against Touting (FIAT), a taskforce he set up late 2019 alluded to the fact the Anambra motor park management have been hijacked by a strong cabal.
Parading some of the suspects in January, he said the revenue of the state was dwindling and that it was discovered that those responsible for the sabotage in the sector were mostly people from other states adding that arresting the boys is a step forward in getting to their bosses.
According to him, government are aware that some henchmen are behind these touts, let them continue to hide, they cannot run away from their shadow, the state government is like their shadow, we will get them.
“We are assuring customers from outside the state who are being harassed to continue coming to the state to do their businesses that the coast is clear, we will leave no stone unturned in sanitising Anambra State, particularly Onitsha of touts who are terrorising you.
“Feel free to come to the state to do your business, we are working with security agents to rid the state of these miscreants, who are terrorizing you, we must encourage those who are coming to the state to invest,” he said
Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) spoke on the situation said there was need to sanitise the public transport management in Anambra because it is obvious that some vested interest were shortchanging the state.
Ezeonwuka said few people were taking advantage of the good heart of Gov. Willie to collect revenues from transporters on behalf of government in name of union and appropriated same to themselves.
The chieftain who is also a Special Adviser to Obiano on Security said all efforts to rid the state of touts have proved abortive as the cabal was so strong that when the boys were arrested, they found their way to the streets in the next few days.
He therefore proposed that those in charged should be stripped of the authority they purportedly got from government and flushed out.
“The problem is that the state is losing revenue and our businesses are suffering because customers drivers outside the state are not willing to come here as a result of high touting activities of the revenue agents.
“This is not the case in other states, people who manage parks in most of the federation have not being allowed to operate here and that us why some of our neighbouring states with more organised system get more revenue.
“It is time elders and people like me speak up on these things, the government should allow the recognised unions to come in and work so that the state can get its due.
“Touting is also a major contributor to insecurity because not only sell tickets, they also engage in small crimes because they are not accountable to anybody and enjoy backing of theses rich cabals,” he said.
Mr Kingsley Mmaduagwuna, Chairman of RTEAN, Anambra chapter said the union was on ground in the state with structures in all the local government and parks across the state and was ready to help the state enjoy the full benefit of the transport sector.
Mmaduagwuna said there was neither faction nor order stopping RTEAN from going to the field rather some people who were benefiting from the inefficiency of the park management system were suppressing the union in spite the approval they have to operate.
Mmaduagwuna said the Union operates in the interest of the government of sports he state and that its operational modalities guarantees safe environment for all users of motor parks.
“RTEAN is a transport trade union recognised by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to help government manage parks across the country and we are here to help Anambra government sanitise the sector and get their due revenue.
“RTEAN is economic promoter of any state and we have network that is effective, we coordinate our activities in a sophisticated, we have just one ticket and it covers you anywhere in the state throughout the day.
“So, we don’t just make money for government, we protect the operators from extortion, drivers in Anambra are passing through difficulties and they are waiting for RTEAN to come to their rescue,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed Dishara National Vice President of RTEAN in charge of Administration said the situation could be due to breakdown in communication which had been addressed or they are being frustrated by strong forces acting for personal interest against state.
Dishara called in the state government to understand the role of RTEAN as the association had absolute control and authority subject to the laws and bye law of the land over all motor park activities throughout Nigeria to facilitate orderliness and ensure complete welfare of passengers and safety of luggage.
“RTEAN don’t encouraged touting and hooliganism rather we work towards their elimination in all motor parks, these are some of the laws guiding our operations.
Effort to get reaction of Mr Afam Mbanefo, the current transport commissioner in the state was not successful as he did not pick his call and when visited he said he was not available for the discussion.