The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) have accused the Akwa Ibom State Government of compliancy in the proliferation of illegal motor parks across the state, increasingly putting the security of passengers at risk.
This is even as anonymous sources have told newsmen that some officials of the state ministry of transport have been shielding those operating illegal parks in the state.
Chairman of Itam Long Distance Park, Mr Austine Edet told newsmen yeaterday in Uyo that government lacked the political will to stop the activities of touts who operate the illegal parks scattered across the state particularly in Uyo, the state capital.
Edet explained that they encourage drivers to pick passengers along the way and so abandon the approved government parks built by former Governor, Obong Victor Attah regretting that the five major parks within Uyo have been practically abandoned.
“It is government that is responsible for the illegal parks in the state. When they make laws, it is not just making the laws but enforcing it.
“In the year 2000, the former governor of the state, Obong Victor Attah completed five parks in Uyo metropolis and sent Executive Bill to the State House of Assembly to ensure that nobody stays outside the government approved park to load vehicles.
“The law was Cap 55, Vol. 3 2000. This law was to enable the transport union establish Anti Touting Miscellaneous Offences Task Force so that nobody stays outside the government park to load vehicles but up till now nothing has been done about it.” He said.
Meanwhile some operators of the government approved parks in Uyo have also blamed officials of the Ministry of Transport and Solid Minerals for the proliferation of the illegal parks.
They lamented that it has contributed to the lack of passengers at the government parks and is responsible for the Ministry’s inability to clamp down on the illegal parks located along Aka, Oron, Abak and Ikot Ekpene roads.
The sources who preferred to remain anonymous alleged that many of the Illegal parks made remittances to senior officials of the ministry who in turn “protect” them by their nonchalance in regulating the operation of parks in the state.
They called on the state government to come to the aid of drivers and vehicle operators who have been patronizing the government approved motor parks as the activities of the Illegal parks is impacting negatively on their patronage in the legal parks and pose a threat to the security of passengers.
Efforts to reach the Commissioner of Transport and Solid Minerals, Mr Etim Uno, to react to the allegations was not successful even after a letter for a scheduled meeting was sent to the Commissioner on his request to that effect.
However, the Akwa Ibom State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Oga Ochi, said the government frowns at the non usage of the designated motor parks.
Ochi explained that he had met with the State House of Assembly Committee on Works and Transport on the matter, and they had directed the FRSC to work with the relevant agencies to remove illegal motor parks from the state.
The Sector Commander said the proliferation of motor parks was not healthy as it posed a security challenge to security agencies as it would be impossible for them to monitor the influx of people in and out of the state and render help where necessary.