Plateau truck drivers sit-at-home records partial compliance

The statewide sit-at-home called by transporters and other trade unions in Plateau State commenced on Wednesday with partial compliance from traders, artisans, drivers, and tricycle operators, among others.

On Tuesday, transporters and other trade unions under the auspices of Plateau State Joint Transport, Traders and Marketers Association, announced that there would be sit-at-home across the state from Wednesday.

The spokesman for the group, Abubakar Garba, who made the announcement at a press conference in Jos, the state capital, 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 gridlock in the state.

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

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

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

After the press conference, the association circulated information on social media directing that all businesses, markets, shops, filling stations and workshops operating within Jos metropolis be closed down on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 as the first line of protest against the order.

The information circulated alsl urged all trade unions/associations leaders to ensure total compliance by their members.

However, our correspondent who monitored the situation in Jos and its environs observed that the sit-at-home did not have much effect as people, including filing stations, tricycle operators, shops, and workshops were seen carrying on with their normal business activities.

However, the turnout of traders at the Terminus Market and the adjoining streets was significantly low compared to other days.

Some of the traders who reported for business told The PUNCH in Jos that they did not understand why their trade union would give the sit-at-home directive under the prevailing economic condition in the country

One of the traders, Ismaila Mohammed, said, “I opened my shop this morning after I was told about the reason for the sit-at-home directive. I think the sit-at-home by the trade union was not well thought out, especially coming at a time when everybody is virtually struggling to make a living.

“They shouldn’t have asked people to abandon their legitimate business and just stay at home in the name of opposition to government policy. Yes, there are issues that we want the government to consider regarding the executive order but I believe that such issues can be resolved through dialogue because I believe that the government meant well for the people with the movement restriction of trucks within a given period.

“The best thing is for the leaders of the trade unions to approach the government and have a meaningful dialogue on the areas of disagreement instead of subjecting members to a sit-at-home which will worsen their economic situation.:

An artisan who opened for business at his Faringada Workshop, Johnson Philip, described the sit-at-home as unnecessary while calling on the trade unions to support the government in its efforts to restore sanity in Jos and other parts of the state.

He said, “I did not come to my workshop initially because I thought it was a normal public holiday declared by the government until somebody told me that it was not a public holiday.

“Where was the trade union when their trucks were killing people at the Polo Roundabout in Jos almost every time? The last truck accident which happened at that place about two weeks ago destroyed several properties, including vehicles while leaving several persons injured.

“Why did the trade union not declare a sit-at-home to compel truck drivers to stop their recklessness, which has claimed several lives within Jos city alone.

“Is it now that the government has listened to the cry of the people and has taken action to address some of these challenges that they think they can frustrate such noble initiative to restrict their movement?

“That is why I came out for my business as usual today because I can not be part of the trade union sit-at-home, which I learnt was sponsored by those who do not mean well for Plateau State. I think they should have a change of hearts and support what the government is doing to bring sanity in the transport sub-sector in the state.”

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