Commercial taxi drivers in Rivers State have appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike to extend the deadline given to them to paint their vehicles to the blue and white colours of the state.

The government had last week given the drivers a seven-day ultimatum to comply with the directive.

The government noted that after the expiration of the ultimatum, a compliance team would be dispatched from the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that commercial vehicle operators in the state adhered to the new rule.

Bounce News was on the field on Tuesday to get the opinions of commercial vehicle operators in the state.

For Monday Odey, who plies the Rumuola to Mile one park route, the poor economic situation of the country was a challenge for him.

He said there was no way he could raise money to repaint his vehicle at this time.

“Things are very difficult now. To repaint this taxi will cost me between 30,000 Naira to 45,000 Naira.

“After buying fuel and maintaining the car, I barely make 20,000 Naira in a month. So how then can I do it?.

“I want to beg the Rivers State Government to give us (taxi drivers) more time, till like December so that I can run around and get money to repaint the car why I sustain myself and my family”.

Another driver who identified himself as Gabriel stated that repainting of their vehicles was bad for business as there were certain places they could not enter with their vehicles.

“I am not happy with this new directive. Repainting our vehicles is bad for business because people will no longer like to chatter our vehicle.

“With an unpainted vehicle, I can comfortably go on chatter to neighbouring places like Aba, Bayelsa and Owerri and make cool money.

“But if I paint my taxi with the Rivers colours, I cannot enter these places as my car would get seized and would have to pay as much as 50,000 Naira to bail it.

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“Also, in this Port Harcourt, we cannot enter certain places with a painted taxi. We can’t carry ‘a drop’ to the state Secretariat, banks, the Airport and most hotels.

Try again

“So if we repaint these vehicles, it’s going to affect our business badly. So I’m begging the Government to reconsider their stance.

Some commuters who spoke to Bounce News commended the new directive by the State Government, highlighting that it would help curb criminality in the state by making commercial vehicles easier to identify in case of any kidnapping, robbery and misplacement of items.

It’s now left to be seen, whether the state Government would heed to the demands of the commercial vehicle operators, who also plan on engaging in a peaceful demonstration to press home their demands.

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