BY McPATRICK MICHAEL LINUS, ABUJA
As the on-going fuel scarcity bites harder nationwide, drivers of some security agencies in Abuja are cashing on the situation to make money by turning their official vehicles to passenger transport at night in the nation’s capital.
Since thousands of private (kabukabu) and commercial vehicles that hitherto take Abuja resident to and from their workplaces now spend hours on end in long queues at filling stations, stranded passengers are a common sight these days in the nation’s capital.
On several investigatory visits to some popular bus-stops within Abuja at night, The Dream Daily observed stranded residents jumping into Hilux vehicles driven by security agents who deployed the official vehicles for commercial transportation purposes.
At the popular Area 1 roundabout, Garki a street urchin who simply identified himself as Lekan around, told The Dream Daily how he sometimes assisted these security operatives to load their vehicles with passengers at night.
“One of the reasons they give for doing this, among others, is money for fuel. They blame their bosses for not making enough money available to fuel these vehicles but expect them to always be on duty,” he said.
A civil servant, who pleaded anonymity, told The Dream Daily of how she saw a uniformed security officer (agency withheld) at the popular Nicon junction bus stop at about 8:45pm calling out for passengers at the top of his voice. “When we finally boarded, I thought we were just being given a free ride. Midway into our journey, however, we were told to pay our fare,” she stated.
A businessman who simply gave his name as Mr. Uzor, deplored the “this ugly act and an aberration of the duties and responsibilities of law enforcement agencies.”
“There are a lot of bad eggs within our security agencies today that must be flush out. I couldn’t believe my eyes at Berger junction recently at about 9.35pm when I saw a security Hilux pick-up filled with passengers and one of the security operatives serving as a conductor in his uniform, yelling ‘enter with your change o!’, like a typical commercial bus conductor or tout we daily see around our bus stops and garages. These are men whose duty is to prevent criminal activities,” he added with a tinge of disgust.