The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) says it has arrested no fewer than 50 dispatch riders for alleged traffic offences within the city centre in Abuja.
Alhaji Wadata Bodinga, Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS) of the FCT Administration (FCTA), made the disclosure on Wednesday in Abuja while briefing newsmen shortly after displaying the seized motorcycles.
Bodinga warned that the conduct and activities of dispatch riders in the city would no longer be tolerated by the FCTA and the motoring public.
He disclosed that the directorate had received a lot of complaints about the conduct of some of the riders within the city and would no longer tolerate it.
“We are here to parade the dispatch riders that we arrested for either riding against traffic in the city or beating the traffic lights.
“As you may observe, the number of dispatch riders has increased within the city, probably because of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging not only Abuja or Nigeria but the whole world.
“Because of their door-to-door services, dispatch riders can actually help with errands of people that are staying at home to deliver some of their needs.
“Just between Tuesday and today Wednesday, over 50 motorcycles and dispatch riders have been arrested for various offences.
“They are the major culprits of beating of traffic lights and riding against traffic in the city which is not acceptable because they are trading with their own safety and the safety of other road users,” Bodinga said.
He said that the FCTA had directed all the people arrested to go for emotional evaluation at a recognised hospital in the capital territory.
The director said that the enforcement was a continuous one, adding that all the Area Commands had been directed to ensure that traffic rules and regulations were respected in the city.
“This is Abuja and even where the traffic lights are not working, our men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force are there to ensure sanity.
“People should be seen to, at least, obey the traffic lights in the territory and sadly, that is not the case when it comes to these dispatch riders as you can see the results of the operation,” he said.
Bodinga disclosed that majority of them were not registered with the authority as dispatch riders as most of them were owned by individuals.
He said that the culprits would be prosecuted at a mobile magistrate court, face compulsory two weeks training on traffic rules with formal letters from their various organisations.
“For all the ones that have organisations, we have drafted a formal letter that we are going to send to their various companies and organisations, informing them of the conduct of their drivers.
“And also, the need for them to bring even their other drivers for mandatory training to update them on traffic rules and regulations,” he said.
He however, said the training was free but they would pay for their various penalties.
Bodinga further said that after the training, the FCTA through the Transportation Secretariat, would issue them Abuja Riders Permit but it would be limited to only the areas that motorcycles were allowed to operate.
In his remarks, Mr Ihkaro Attah, the Chairman, FCTA Ministerial Taskforce on Traffic Management, said dispatch riders who were allowed to operate in the city were already abusing the privilege.
“They break traffic laws regularly and it has become a source of worry to the FCT Minister, Mr Bodinga and his men swung into action and clamped down on them.
“We give the directorate pass mark for clamping down on these violators and some vehicles here are also involved.
“They will be going through psychiatric tests to ascertain if they are normal because if something is not wrong with them they must be wrong with something,” he added.