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Truck drivers reject Plateau’s movement restriction, N500,000 fine

Transporters and other trade unions in Plateau State, under the auspices of Plateau State Joint Transport, Traders and Marketers Association, on Tuesday, announced that there would be sit-at-home across the state from today (Wednesday).

The spokesman for the group, Abubakar Garba, who disclosed this at a press conference in Jos on Tuesday, said their action was intended to voice out their rejection of an executive order recently signed by Governor Caleb Mutfwang.

Mutfwang had last month signed Executive Order No. 003, 2024 to control the illegal erection of buildings and traffic in the state.

The Executive Order specifically restricted trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles from coming into the Central Business Area (Jos-Bukuru Metropolis) between 6 am and  9 pm.

It stipulated N500,000 penalty and the impounding of the truck as punishment for violators.

But on Tuesday, the Plateau State Joint Transport, Traders and Marketers Association held a press conference, rejecting the restriction.

The group’s spokesman, Garba, contended that the executive order infringed on their fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.

Garba said, “The last time we checked, we found out that the roads, which the government is barricading for us not to ply, belong to the Federal Government, which the Federal Government constructed to ease movement from one state to another. Based on this development, restricting any vehicular movement on those roads is an infringement on our fundamental rights of movement as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria .

“We, therefore, call on the government of Plateau State to retrace its steps on this executive order by releasing our impounded trucks immediately, provide designated routes for trucks, allow tricks moving goods to their states like Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Borno and Jigawa states to use the bye-pass roads to their destinations.

“We further urge the governmEnt to construct truck terminals for the efficient working of the executive order and also to reduce the restriction time from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am to 5pm to 7am so as to reduce the hardship faced by truck owners and high cost of goods and services by the citizens.

“We will continue to use all available legal means for the enforcement of our fundamental rights even as we have resolved to declare tomorrow, Wednesday, April 3, 2024 as a warning strike to sit at home, to show our dissatisfaction with the sad executive order No 003 and we shall continue until a lasting solution is found.”

When contacted, the state Commissioner for Information, Musa Ashoms, said they were in a meeting with officials of the trade union with a view to resolving every grey area concerning the executive order.

He, however, said the executive order had come to stay.

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