National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) has urged the Federal Government to deploy software such as the union’s e-tracking platform to help tackle insecurity in the country.
The Deputy General Secretary of NURTW, Mr Anthony Asogwa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, that the platform would enable the union detect threats to vehicle of members.
According to him, the union has concluded arrangements and can launch the platform before the end of the year or within the first quarter of 2022.
”Nigeria has the means to be able to engage any of the sophisticated software, which it can use in tracking the positions of criminals, because most of the times they are camped in the forest.
”Arrangements have already been concluded by the union to introduce what we call e-tracking.
”It is a platform we created and all our members will be logged into that platform,
“If there is any threat or any issue, we will be able to detect it.
”If your friends or relations are traveling and are on the platform, you can monitor the vehicle’s movement at any point in time using the software.
”This is why I said currently there are enough means to track criminality. With the platform, any of our vehicles that have ssues on the road, we will be able to monitor it and then make calls to the nearest police station.We are collaborating with the police on this.
”We hope to launch it between now and the first quarter of 2022,” he said.
NURTW also appealed to the Federal Government to increase its effort toward tackling insecurity on the roads to enable free movement of goods across the country.
Asogwa told NAN that “inasmuch as we know that the Federal Government is doing its best on the issue of security, it has to do more because the situation appears not to be getting better.
”About 90 per cent of transportation of goods and services in Nigeria are done by road.
”And because of insecurity on the roads, these goods and services cannot move freely to where they are needed and this impedes the economic growth of the country.
”This situation doesn’t seem to have improved as recently, even the train, which we considered the safest was attacked but God was merciful.
”So we want to plead with the Federal Government to do more. I believe if they do more, the situation will be under control.”
The secretary-general also decried the poor state of the Nigerian roads, saying that it enabled crime to thrive on the roads.
”We have the issue of very bad condition of our roads. Some of these criminals stand at the bad portion of the road, knowing you will definitely slow down and when you do, they will attack.”
On his part, Mr Taiwo Yahaya, the Secretary, Jabi Motor Park of NURTW also decried the poor state of the roads.
”When you are travelling through Ogbaja-Omo-Kabba in Kogi and it rains, you are bound to spend roughly six to seven hours on that road because of its poor state.
”I know the government is really trying but they have to do something and fast concerning the roads,” he said.
Yahaya said the Jabi Park union was embarking on some measures to help tackle insecurity.
He said one of the ways was to ensure every passenger identified himself, provided a next of kin and submitted his luggage for proper search before boarding the vehicle.
According to him, some criminals disguise as passengers, whereas some are informants to the criminals.
”In some cases, even if we don’t find anything incriminating in your possession, but you don’t appear trustworthy based on our instinct, we do not allow you board our vehicles.
”We also always ensure our vehicles are in good condition before embarking on any trip so as not to dissapoint our passengers and keep them stranded on the road.
”Although, we thank God Almighty for our safety, because it has only been Him protecting us these days,”Yahaya said.
A driver, Sunday Fatoye, while reiterating the poor state of the roads, decried high cost of maintaining vehicles in the country.
He said :”The cost of motor parts and other assesories have greatly increased and we (drivers) find it difficult to maintain our vehicles.
”And when your vehicle is not in order and you are caught by road safety for instance, they will book you after which you will have to pay so much money to bail your vehicle.
”Moreso, the state of our roads is nothing to write home about. And this contributes greatly to insecurity on the roads as the bad spots are used by perpetrators of crime.
For Amos Ola, also a driver, the security situation in the country “is not really getting better, and drivers are now afraid to venture into some routes.
”Around Kebbi state to Abuja, down to Minna and from Sokoto to Funtua, Zamfara, those areas are worse and no matter how much you pay me, I will not drive you there.
‘”This is really affecting our business, many passengers also no longer want to travel because of fear.
”I am appealing to the government to ensure more equipped security personnel are deployed on the roads to deter kidnappers from coming out to carry people ,” Ola said.
On his part, Mr Suleiman Ibrahim, another driver, said he could barely feed his family, let alone pay school fees for his eight children.
According to Ibrahim, the business of driving is no longer thriving as it used to be and this has greatly affected the income of the drivers.
”Even some of us who are responsibility for our family are willing to embark on trips in spite of insecurity; we seldom get high influx of passengers as it used to be.
”Some of my children are out of school because I cannot afford to send them all to school and the situation is not getting any better.
“I pray something is done and soon, or else some drivers and their families will begin to die of hunger,” Ibrahim added.
Another driver, Peter Emmanuel, who said he used to prefer to embark on night journey because of ease on the roads, however, he said he would not dare to do that anymore.
According to Emmanuel, the reccuring incident of drivers with their passengers disappearing on the highway is becoming alarming and cause for concern.
”As drivers, we have been doing the little we can to protect ourselves by communicating with each other while we are travelling.
”When we hear or sense danger, we try to alert our colleagues so they can follow other routes that are clear instead of falling into the hands of evil men.
”This is not enough, that is why we are appealing to the government to help solve this issue of insecurity on the roads because people are really suffering,” Emmanuel said.(NAN)