ABUJA, Nigeria – The Directorate of Road Transport Services (DRTS) of the Federal Capital Territory Administration has initiated a significant operation to demolish shops, eateries, and other illegal structures located in taxi ranks throughout Abuja.
This move is part of a broader initiative to reclaim taxi ranks and facilitate a more efficient and unified mass transportation system in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The demolition operation, which began on Friday, January 12, 2024, targeted illegal structures at the Area 3 and Banex Junction Taxi Ranks.
Abdulateef Bello, the Director of the DRTS, had previously hinted at this development following a meeting with transport stakeholders on Monday.
At the Area 3 Taxi Rank, the DRTS team, accompanied by security agencies, dismantled various establishments, including a car wash, mechanic workshops, a cinema house, and eateries.
The action was taken to free up space within the taxi rank for its intended purpose.
The situation at the Banex Junction Taxi Rank was particularly concerning, as the area had been overrun by miscreants using the space for illicit activities, including the sale of hard drugs and adulterated fuel and diesel.
This encroachment had prevented taxis from utilizing the rank as intended.
Deborah Osho, Head of Operations at DRTS, explained that the operation aimed to provide more room for taxis to operate within the ranks.
This approach is expected to reduce the prevalence of illegal taxi parks across the city, which arise from the lack of adequate space in designated areas.
Additionally, the initiative is seen as a strategic move to combat the “one chance” menace, a form of crime where criminals use illegal taxi parks to execute their activities.
As part of the reorganisation, the DRTS has allocated a space near Eagle Square to serve as a temporary taxi rank, particularly to curb illegal parking around the Federal Secretariat.
The objective is to ensure that commuters board taxis inside the designated ranks, enhancing safety and reducing the risk of falling victim to “one chance” crimes.
Peter Olumuji, Secretary of the Command and Control Centre in the Department of Security, FCTA, emphasised that the lack of secure taxi ranks contributes to the prevalence of one-chance crimes.
The clearance of these illegal structures is expected to encourage more taxis to use the ranks, offering commuters safer transportation options.
Supporting this initiative, Richard Siso, Deputy Chairman of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, FCT Chapter, expressed satisfaction with the government’s action. He remarked that clearing the parks aligns with the long-standing requests of transport operators.