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DRTS Demolishes Shops, Eateries, Illegal Structures in Taxi Ranks in Abuja  

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The Directorate of Road Transport Services (DRTS), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has
commenced demolition of shops, eateries, and other illegal structures in taxi ranks across the capital city, Abuja.

Reports says that the demolition started with Area 3 and Banex Junction Taxi Ranks in Abuja on Friday.

In Area 3 Taxi Rank, the DTRS team, supported by security agencies, demolished car wash, mechanic workshop, cinema house, and
eateries among others, operating within the ranks.

At Banex Junction Taxi Rank, the taxis were not using the ranks because they had been taken over by miscreants who use
the space to sell hard drugs, including adulterated fuel and diesel.

Mrs Deborah Osho, the Head of Operations, DRTS, who led the team, explained that the measure was to give room for more taxis to operate within the ranks.

This, according to her, will discourage illegal taxi parks across the city on grounds that there is no enough space in the taxi ranks.

She added that the move would also address the menace of “one chance” operators, who took advantage of the illegal parks to perpetuate their evil deeds.

She pointed out that most of the taxi ranks were not being used for taxi operations but criminals’ hideout, selling hard drugs.

Osho explained that the decision to demolish and clear the taxi ranks of illegal structures was reached after a meeting with transport stakeholders on the need for a cleaner and serene environment in the FCT.

She added that “on Monday, the DRTS invited stakeholders in the transportation sector for a meeting, and one of the resolutions was to clear the taxi ranks for taxis to operate inside the ranks.

“We have equally handed over a space around Eagle Square for taxi operators to use as temporary, to stop the menace of illegal parks around the Federal Secretariat.

“We are prepared to clean all taxi ranks in 2024, to ensure that motorists board taxis inside the taxi ranks and not outside.

“This in the long run, will address the menace of `one chance’ in the city.”

Dr Peter Olumuji, the Secretary, Command and Control Centre, Department of Security Service, FCTA, said “one chance happens when people do not have a secured taxi rank to board vehicles.

“After going round with DRTS officials, we noticed that most of the taxi ranks were occupied by people that were not meant to be there.

“But as we clear these illegal structures, more vehicles will be coming into the ranks so that commuters will be able to board safe and secured taxis to their various destinations.

“This is a joint effort that will continue.”

Olumuji said that to sustain the clean taxi ranks operations, there was need for more personnel for DRTS and vehicular assets to move to every nuke and cranny of the city.

He added that the Department of Development Control also needs more wheel loaders and caterpillars for clearance operations.

He expressed confidence that the FCT Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, would provide the manpower and logistics needed to keep the capital city clean and serene.

Commenting on the development, Mr Richard Siso, the Deputy Chairman, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, FCT Chapter, described the joint effort
as the best for transport operators so far.

He said “this is what we have been asking government to help us do; we thank God that government has listened to us and has come out to clear the parks for us.
We are in full support.”

Also, Mr Oladipupo Ebijuni, the Chairman and Director, Enforcement, Painted Abuja Taxi, said “we are very happy with what is happening here. I want
to assure DRTS of our full support.” (NAN)

NEWS

Armed herders attacks soldiers, kill one, injured another in Benue

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Troops of Operations Whirl Stroke (OPWS), operating in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States, were reportedly attacked by suspected armed herdsmen leading to the death of one soldier, while another one was injured in Ochuekwu, Benue State.

The soldiers were deployed to Ochumekwu, Apa local government area of the State to keep peace following constant attacks on the community by the armed herders.

Force Commander, Operation Whirl Stroke OPWS Major General Sunday Iserihen Igbinomwanhia who confirmed this to newsmen on Monday, in Makurdi, said one personnel was killed and one injured.

He however said the troops in response killed three and injured several of the herdsmen, while one AK47 and rounds of ammunitions were recovered from them.

” OPWS is currently carrying out a clearance operation to flush out suspected armed foreign herders who have invaded Kwande local government area of the State”, he said.

It could be recalled that in February, a soldier was killed and two (2) others were injured in Agatu local government when suspected herders laid ambush on the troops.

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NEWS

Borehole Drillers Seek Expatriate Levy Review

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The Borehole Drillers’ Association of Nigeria (BODAN), has urged the Nigerian Government to reconsider its decision on the Expatriate Employment Levy (EEL), as it poses a threat to the survival of the drilling sector.

BODAN President, Mr Francis Uzoma, told newsmen on Monday that the decision has prompted many foreign drilling companies to consider relocating to other countries.

The Expatriate Employment Levy mandates an annual fee for organisations employing expatriate workers, requiring $15,000 (£12,000) for a director and $10,000 for other employees.

This move, according to the Federal Government aims to encourage foreign companies to increase the employment of Nigerian workers.

Uzoma said the federal government should reconsider the decision by reviewing the mandated levy to be more considerate in line with current economic realities.

According to him, its members, especially the foreign investors have been worried about the new decision saying it was not beneficial to continue to operate in the country.

“I just came out from a meeting with my members and they have expressed concern about the new law which mandates organisations employing expatriate workers to pay $15,000 for a director and $10,000 for other employees.

“These companies have already indicated their intentions to leave the country, many of them are Indian and Asian drillers.

“There are predictions of massive job losses, affecting mainly Nigerian workers and would contribute to unemployment.

“We are calling for total review of this annual levy as the one-month window given for payment is not tenable and would affect the economy.

“Without such reconsideration, there’s a risk of drilling companies relocating to neighboring countries, as they have expressed dissatisfaction and unfavorable business conditions”.

These effects, he added include potential repercussions on the borehole sector, hindrance to knowledge transfer, and limitations on equipment and technology use.

He stressed the potential retaliation from foreign investors, particularly Nigerians in diaspora, highlighting the importance of considering the policy’s impact.

He mentioned his intention to write to the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, outlining the adverse effects of the policy on the economy.

NAN recalls President Bola Tinubu’s cautionary statement during the recent launch of the EEL handbook, where he warned against using the levy to obstruct potential investors.

He highlighted the government’s expectations to enhance revenue and promote indigenisation, emphasising the objective of balancing employment opportunities between Nigerians and expatriates.

Tinubu clarified that the government’s aim is to narrow wage gaps between expatriates and the Nigerian labor force.

Also, it is to simultaneously foster increased employment opportunities for qualified Nigerians within foreign companies operating in the country. (NAN)

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Foreign News

Cambodia Arrests 2 Foreigners for Smuggling 2.27 kg Narcotics

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Cambodian customs police at the Phnom Penh International Airport said they have arrested two South Korean nationals for an attempt to smuggle 2.27 kg narcotics to South Korea.

The duo, a man and woman, were caught Sunday night while they checked in for a ZA215 flight bound for Seoul.

The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia said in a news release on Monday.

In their body searches, our customs officials found many packs of drugs wrapped around their waists, the news release said.

“As a result, some 1.29 kg of crystal methamphetamine and 0.98 kg of ketamine were seized from the two suspects’ possession.’’

The Southeast Asian country has no death sentence for a drug trafficker.

Under its law, someone found guilty of trafficking more than 80 grammes of illicit drugs could be jailed for life.

According to the country’s Anti-Drug Department (ADP), Cambodia nabbed 3,899 drug-related suspects, including 106 foreigners, in 1,659 cases from Jan. 1 to March 3, 2024.

According to the report they confiscated a total of 2.79 tonnes of narcotics.

Most of the seized drugs were ketamine, crystal methamphetamine, methamphetamine tablets, heroin, ecstasy, and cocaine. (Xinhua/NAN)

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