Dispatch riders operating in the FCT must register with the FCT Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) latest by the first week of August or face sanctions.

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Companies employing the riders must also register by the deadline, FCT VIO Director, Mr Abdul-Lateef Bello, warned in Abuja on Sunday.

Bello told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the agency had conducted series of engagements with dispatch companies and riders before arriving at the August deadline,

“After registration and training, they will be given a different motorcycle specification of not less than 200 CC which is a higher category than what you see around now,’’ he said.

He said the bikes would help to create a distinctive feature for proper enforcement.

“This will also help to remove dispatch riders who had been engaging in one violation or the other,’’ Bello said.

The VIO director also told NAN that there were additional requirements introduced alongside the new specifications.

“You must have a helmet and reflective jacket; riders must have certificates and new riders’ permit to operate in the city.

“If you don’t meet the stated criteria, then you have no business with delivery services,’’ he said.

Bello also told NAN that registered riders would undergo riding lessons offered by the directorate.

“There are dispatch riders currently undergoing training with us after registration.

“So far, we have had appreciable response looking at the number of riders undergoing training and if you observe now within the territory, there is a level of compliance.

“This is in terms of behaviour, types of motorcycles and manner of riding; so it’s a gradual improvement.

“It’s not yet noticeable because the language most operators understand is enforcement. We shall start the enforcement; we will know those who are ready to obey the rules and regulations,” he said.

The director noted that the enforcement of the ban on commercial motorcycling had been difficult because Abuja city was not planned to accommodate the operation of motorcycle taxis and tricycles.

“Managing and enforcing the ban on the activities of motorcycles and tricycles within the city has been a very hectic assignment for the directorate because these riders are not willing to comply,’’ he said.

He noted that the enforcement of the ban was not solely the responsibility of the VIO, but also that of the FCT Administration.

He said that notwithstanding the recklessness of most riders, their services were important, particularly to those who live or work in remote areas.

Bello said this was the major reason why the FCT Administration had been trying to strike a balance without resorting to an absolute ban on commercial motorcycling in all parts of the FCT.