From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Drivers using the newly constructed Benin Central Park located at Obakhavbaye in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State have boycotted the facility citing high levies leveled against them by the state government.
The drivers, in expressing their grievances, refused to drive into the park as usual, instead lined up their buses on the road thereby leading to a heavy traffic in the area.
Speaking to Daily Sun, Osaro Ekhioagbon, a driver said barely a week after the House of Assembly election in the state, the state governor has returned to the old levies of N1600 which they said it is very difficult for them to pay.
He said prior to the elections, the governor reduced their levies from N1600 to N800, stressing that he has suddenly gone back to the old order.
Ekhioagbon said that to make matter worse the drivers using the Central Park hardly run two trips in a day because of the activities of other bus drivers who load their passengers along the road yet pay less.
“Before the election, the governor reduced it to N800 and now after the election, the governor is asking us to be paying N1600.
“So, what we drivers are saying is that we cannot pay such and that the money is too much.
“Those working outside the park are paying N800 and we inside the park are paying N1600.
“We cannot afford that because those loading outside the park work more than us. We load either once or twice in a day while those who load along the road run up to about eight trips in a day yet pay N800”, Ekhioagbon said.
Speaking also Lucky Adeyan Okpowman, President of Drivers Welfare Empowerment Scheme, said the problem is currently being addressed and that though they are willing to join hands with the state government to make things work, the government should help them ensure that those loading outside the park are stopped from do so.
“This is Central Park and any vehicle that wants to load, there should be a distance.
“We have already discussed it with the woman in charge of Transport .
“So, we are trying how to resolve this latest tomorrow.
“Before now, this is what we were paying N1600 but they said they will not pay because of the people loading outside the park.
” I have already told them if you love what the government is doing , there is no reason you will not pay for the development of the state.
“So, all we have to do is to see how we can put our efforts together to see how we can clear the illegal loading points”, Okpowman said.