Mixed reactions have trailed the reintroduction of ‘park and pay’ policy by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration.
The Guardian learnt that the policy, which was first introduced in 2012, on selected major streets in Abuja, aimed at curtailing the rate of wrong parking in the city and ensuring better traffic flow.
At the inception of the policy in 2012, Abuja motorists were expected to pay fees ranging from N50 to N100 to park in designated parks from 30 minutes upwards.
Defaulters were slammed with N5,000 penalty. Cars were clamped (locked) and fines were also imposed on those whose vehicles over stayed for 20 to 30 minutes.
However, the introduction of the scheme brought about disagreement between car owners / drivers and operators engaged by the FCT authorities.
Consequently, a private savings and loan firm dragged the Federal Government before a Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo.
Justice Peter Affen in a ruling on April 14 2014, declared the park and pay policy of the Abuja administration illegal and ordered immediate stoppage of its implementation, adding that there is no law supporting the policy.
Similarly, in May 2015, the controversial Abuja park and pay policy was stopped again.
However, on August 6, 2023, the FCTA and a group of concessionaires of on street parking signed an agreement to restore the ‘park and pay’ scheme in Abuja.
Permanent Secretary of FCTA, OlusadeAdesola, who signed on behalf of the FCTA, said that the move was to promote a culture of orderliness and organisation in vehicle parking.
He stressed that implementation would not commence immediately until residents were fully sensitised and enlightened about the scheme.
Reacting, motorists and commuters expressed concerns about the implication.
A motorist, OchiakaUgwu, advised that the new scheme should be done with human face and shouldn’t impoverish motorists.
He said: “I think the company has been engaging with stakeholders, even when they engaged the media, one thing was utmost in our mind, we said whatever they want to do should be considerate of the people, because times are hard.
“I don’t know how far they have gone or how much they are going to collect from people but my opinion is that people should not be over taxed, so that at the end of the day, they will still have some money to meet other necessities of life.”
For a private car owner, Linda Umo, it is a welcome development that could bring sanity to the FCT.
She, however, called for designated points where they want people to park their cars.
A taxi driver, Joshua Adedoyin, asked the FCT Administration to ensure that the scheme is corruption free.
Also, a resident, EneOnotu, wondered if the policy was right at this time.
“Nigerians are experiencing economic downturns and shouldn’t be disturbed with this. However, they should sensitise people on the policy, so that they will not fall victim. They should also mark out places they want people to park.
“To me, the major thing they should be doing now is how to curtail the excesses of the reckless taxi drivers in the FCT,” she added.