By PHILIBUS DAUDA, Kaduna
Commercial drivers within Kaduna metropolis are grumbling over the fixed rate of N1,500 annually for the purchase of waste baskets which cost less than N200 in the market.
The drivers told our correspondent that the staff of the Kaduna State Ministry of Environment have been constantly harassing them to purchase the compulsory basket from them, a development they say is further compounding the current economic hardship being experienced in the country.
Our Correspondent embarked on an undercover operation to ascertain the allegations from the commercial transporters, observed that the staff of the Ministry of Environment with those of the Kaduna Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA), positioned themselves at strategic locations and threaten to impound vehicles of defaulters.
At Sabon Tasha, while disguised as a passenger, the staff of the ministry stopped a commercial bus and one of them immediately hopped into the passenger seat beside the driver, while his colleagues all wearing branded reflective jackets surrounded the vehicle in front at behind, to prevent the driver from zooming off.
They asked him to produce his waste basket and sticker. The elderly driver politely showed them his identity card showing he was a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), but they insisted that he must purchase their basket or get his vehicle impounded.
After pleading for about 10 minutes, they let him go with a stern warning that when next they apprehend him, he would not be forgiven if he fails to pay for the basket.
Other drivers who spoke under condition of anonymity also expressed their disgust at the compulsory N1,500 basket.
“This is unfair. How can they sell a basket that I can buy for N150 for N1,500? We are struggling with fuel scarcity, rising cost of food items and other challenges, yet they add this one?” he queried.
“They should use their time in evacuating the barrage of garbage littering the major streets instead of this wild goose chase,” he added.