How Abuja Investment Company Tricked Us into Empty Sure-P Palliative
by THISDAY LIVE
The Chief Executive Officer, Painted Commercial Taxi Drivers Association, Comrade Shehu Shugaba Yar’adua, has said that the Abuja Investment Company Limited tricked its members into signing an empty SURE-P palliative Agreement without disclosing the contents therein and as such, demanded for a total review.
He stated that having discovered through recent letters sent by the company to the Association notifying them on some outrageous conditions of the agreement; they decided to drag Abuja Investment to Arbitration for settlements.
According to him, “We are laying the complaint now because we were not allowed to see the agreement not until they wrote us a letter notifying us what it is all about. And having been disturbing us about the agreement that we asked to take a look at it and to our greatest surprise to see that government was not in our favour.”
Yar’adua, while briefing newsmen in his office in Abuja Friday, maintained that his drivers were hurriedly led to the trap by Abuja Investment Company. “When the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammed came up with the palliative, we thought maybe we are going to enjoy the system. Our vehicles were removed out of the system, I mean the unpainted taxi, and minister said we should remove them from the roads; so that they will give us taxi which we did. We discovered now that the vehicles they gave to us are not at subsidised rate; they are refurbished and are not new vehicles.
He disclosed that his drivers were hurriedly led to the costly trap by having them sign papers without prior knowledge of the whole arrangement. “All our drivers did not have access to the agreement. They don’t know what is in that agreement. They only call our drivers and say sign, sign. Open pages for them and they sign. We are not aware of what is in those papers. Even with our representatives, we do not have access to those documents. Even when we said, okay; give us some time to study the documents, they said minister said we should go and start using the vehicles. So, there is no time and
we had no option because, we thought government said they want to give us something that your member will benefit, you have to rush and collect.
“What we are saying is that we need a total review of the agreement. Let the parties sit down and renegotiate. To me, it was a minister that gave us those vehicles and we are also waiting for the next minister. We have vehicles that have been grounded for over two years now. We requested the Abuja Investment to discharge their own obligations by replacing them for us which they have failed to do so far, yet demanding for payment.
“The mode of payment is monthly and each driver pays the sum of N63, 200 to Abuja investment the initial payment was N130, 000. They are to drive the vehicle for 35 months. The vehicle actual cost is N2.7million. In the open market, we are able to get the same kind of vehicle for N1.2million. So, the vehicles are refurbished vehicles, have no spare parts in our markets and are not good.”
While lamenting about the harsh conditions the association found itself, he added that there was no good environment to operate, “You cannot go beyond the city to operate.
Though we are aware that the vehicle is meant to service the city, if so, then should be allowed to enter government premises and other establishments like hotels, banks, etc.
All these drivers have their biometric data, they have been captured. It is a government car and who ever drives that car, government knows them. We should not be restricted from all these areas. The vehicles were given directly to drivers through the operators and at the end of the day, the driver owns the car. We want the drivers to drive those vehicles for two years instead of three years if it’s actually a palliative and also to respond to our problem of insurance because the vehicle is insured.
However, all efforts to get Abuja Investment Company Limited to comment on these claims by Yar’adua proved abortive as they directed journalists to provide letter seeking for an audience with the Group Managing Director.