By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The Cross River State Government has introduced security codes for commercial vehicles and tricycles in the state as away of curbing incidents of criminality.
The security codes, which are inscripted on both sides of commercial vehicles and tricycles plying all streets and roads in the state will make for easy identification by passengers, where vehicles numbers are difficult to grasp.
Flagging off the exercise at the open field of Calabar Municipal Council, Calabar in the presence of officers and members of the commercial drivers and tricycles operators, the State Security Adviser Mr Jude Ngaji said “what we are trying to do is to ensure that we are not confronted with security challenges that other states are facing at the moment.”
According to him, “it is not an indictment on any of the operators but the introduction of the code is aimed at curbing criminal activities in the state. The codes can be easily remembered by passengers in the event that such a vehicle is used to perpetrate any form of criminal activity.”
He said apart from the security code numbers, each driver or operator in the state is required to fill a form stating his details which include personal particulars, residential address and phone numbers which will be uploaded to a database for easy identification.”
For off colour vehicles, Ngaji remarked that “although these vehicles are not allowed to operate after 5pm, but they will be subjected to the same security coding system if they must ply the streets and roads in the state.”
Revealing that it is a crime for two taxis to have the same security code, Ngaji disclosed that government will soon set up a taskforce to ensure that all commercial vehicles are coded.
Once the coding is completed, he said “the operational time for tricycles will be extended from 6pm to 8pm as passengers will be confident to join any vehicle or tricycle,” adding that, “government will handle all financial involvement incurred during the exercise.”
On the deadline earmarked for completion, the SSA said, “as soon as the artists finishes the inscription and the forms are returned, we are going to give the operators one week grace and after that, any vehicle or tricycle found in the streets or roads without a security code will not be allowed to ply.”
Speaking on the development, the of Chairman Unified Commercial Drivers Association in the state, Pastor Thomas Effiong Okon and his Tricycle counterpart, Dr Joseph Ewa, said his association was in complete support of the development.
Okon advocated continuous updating of the system to ensure that only those with proper identification as contained in the database handle vehicles, adding that, “the exercise should be extended to military personnel who use their private vehicles to convey passengers as criminals may hide under such identity to perpetrate crime.
“This development will help us fish out the bad boys who are bent on giving tricycles operators a bad image,” he said.
The driver of the first vehicle to be given the code, Prince Ewa Ekeng Henshaw described it as “a great one in Calabar and I am happy”.