Edo State Civil society Organizations (EDOCSOs) have petitioned Edo State Traffic Management Agency (EDTMA) for violating human rights of motorists accused of parking their vehicles at unauthorized locations without any ‘warning sign’ by default in the State.
The Coalition also accused the agency of wielding a short power through indiscriminate towing of vehicles parked at locations marked as ‘No Parking’ zones across the State and particularly within Benin metropolis, thereby stirring up controversies over the payment of fines slammed on motorists.
In a letter addressed to the the Managing Director, Edo State Traffic Management Agency jointly signed by Bishop Dr. Osadolor Ochei and Comrade Keshi St. Lawrence Interim TEC Chairman Interim Deputy TEC Secretary respectively, said the Coalition is inundated with complaints from members of the public arising from towing of their vehicles by officials of the agency in areas where warning signs are not placed.
The group raised the red flag in a letter titled: “Indiscriminate towing of vehicles in areas without warning signs across Edo State”, alleging that unresolved human rights abuses by officials of EDTMA hoist glibly on oppressed motoring public “amount to injustice, lack of fairness, oppression, immorality and extortion must be checked by concerned authorities.
“The operations of your tow vans suggest that, it has to do with a daily targets that must be met.
“As a Coalition of Civil rights groups in Edo that sues for equality and fairness in the society, we have been inundated with several complaints from members of the public of the towing of their vehicles by officials of your agency in areas where there are no warning signs.
“The operations of your tow vans suggest that, it has to do with a daily targets that must be met”, according to the Coalition to avoid Civil strife.
According to EDOCSOs, “It is our highest admonition that the agency or its overseeing ministry should provide adequate warning signs in designated areas before enforcement can be carried out on such areas. It is only when this is done that the agency can enforce wrongful parking of vehicles in unauthorized areas”, the group stressed.
But the Managing Director of Edo State Traffic Management Agency, Dennis Oloriegbe, denied the claim by EDOCSOs.
He said: “On issue of demarcation of parking lots, we have parking modalities. Our Research and planning Department are now on the streets.
“We want to make sure that people obey road signs. We have identified all the bus in major roads like Sapele, Airport, roads, Aduwawa axis, Uselu-Ugbowo Lagos road and others.
“Somewhere around James Watts in Benin City commuters will park their vehicles on both sides of the road, thereby denying pedestrians and other road users the opportunity to use the road. Whereas that is an arterial road which served as alternative routes when there is a traffic gridlock on major roads. So, we intend to mark them for easy flow of traffic.
“We have started sensitizing the public on how to use the roads and make use of upstream parking spaces. Why should people leave the government car park at the King square and go and park on the major roads and inconvenience other road users.
“For the road signs, we intend to put road signs in areas that not authorised for parking. We use to do, but things seem to be changing in Benin. Anything you use iron ore aluminium to construct on our roads, as soon as your leave, the next day, it will disappear.
“Benin is becoming a Mega City now because of the relative peace we enjoy at the moment. People are leaving far North and other places to stay in Benin”.