Obiano Moves to Modernize Anambra, Launches Intercity Taxi to link Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka

By James Eze

In a bold move to give the three leading cities of Anambra State an outlook of modernity and shore up their social index, the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has launched three landmark initiatives that will change the face of the State.

The initiatives are the Anambra State City Cab Scheme, Operation Clean & Healthy Anambra (OCHA Brigade) and the Anambra State Traffic Management Agency (ATMA). Although Anambra State with its three major cities and pockets of urbanizing towns is the most developed state in the South East, residents have always complained of the absence of organized intra and inter-city taxis that will facilitate the movement of commuters inside and between the cities.

Launching the first phase of the Cab Scheme with 200 taxis at the Alex Ekweme Square at the weekend, Governor Obiano explained that the idea was to ensure that the state would have an effective transportation system that would lift it into a world class business environment.

He further maintained that the introduction of the Cab Scheme is expected to slash the unemployment rate and eventually contribute to a growth in the Internally Generated Revenue of the state.

“The City Cab Scheme is aimed at empowering the youths of Anambra by offering them an opportunity to own brand new taxi cabs via a hire purchase scheme,” he revealed, further pointing out that the scheme has a 24 hours call centre for residents to call the operators for pick-ups at any time of day or night.

On the introduction of Operation Clean & Healthy Anambra, codenamed OCHA Brigade, Governor Obiano explained that it is “an Enforcement Unit with a mandate to facilitate improvement in our quality of life by enforcing environmental cleanliness, healthy living habits, good hygiene and general orderliness in the state.

According to him, “the mission OCHA Brigade is to enforce cleanliness and orderliness as a culture among the residents of Anambra state; with the aim to become the task force most known for enforcing a clean, orderly and healthy environment in Nigeria. This initiative will be championed by 200 youths drafted from various ministries in the state who have been properly trained and equipped for this assignment.”

OCHA Brigade is a merger of the Enforcement Units of the Ministries of Health, Environment, Board of Internal Revenue Services, ASUDEB/ ACDA, the advertisement agency and ASWAMA. It represents a new enforcement model with inter-ministerial and inter-agency relationships that present an opportunity for the state to efficiently and effectively enforce discipline, orderliness, cleanliness and an excellent tax payment structure. “

Obiano further described OCHA Brigade as a “laudable initiative that will foster a cleaner, healthier and more orderly Anambra; a culture worthy of an enterprising and dogged people; and an effective taskforce that will endear the government to the people.”

On the introduction of the Anambra State Traffic Management Agency (ATMA), an agency under the Ministry of Transport (MOT) Governor Obiano expressed optimism that ATMA would lead to drastic reduction in the rising wave of preventable road accidents, injuries and damage to valuable properties is the priority of my administration

Throwing more light on the agency, Governor Obiano said that “the agency has been reengineered, restructured and charged with the administration, control and management of road traffic matters; a system of operations that make it responsive to the demands of traffic and to ease traffic congestion, to reduce travel delay, improve access to commerce and industry, redirect traffic, improve the environment, protect and enhance safety of all road users and eventually enhance a sustainable transport system in Anambra State.

Governor Obiano revealed that 150 operatives have been trained at the highly acclaimed internationally recognized Traffic Management Centre of the Federal Road Safety Academy, Udi, and Enugu State. He said that with the creation of ATMA, traffic control and administration in the state will improve considerably as operatives of the agency will fully compliment the efforts of, Federal Road Safety Corps within the State.

Earlier in his address, the Anambra State Commissioner for Transport, Hon. Chuma Mbonu thanked Governor Obiano for Anambra State the first state to send its Traffic Managers to the Federal Road Safety Corps Academy, Udi in Enugu State.

Disclosing that ATMA has 5 Heavy Duty and Medium Tow Trucks, 15 Patrol Cars and 25 Patrol Motorcycles in its disposal to ensure effective discharge of its duties, Hon Mbonu assured that “with these officers on our highways, the era of unnecessary traffic holdups will be over. Avoidable accidents will be reducedto the barest minimum.”