Dennis Udoma, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State government has said that there is no plan to ban the activities of commercial tricycles otherwise known as Keke NAPEP in the state.
Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Godwin Ntukudeh made this known weekend in Uyo during an interaction with newsmen.
“Akwa Ibom State Government has no intention, as speculated by the opposition, to ban the services of commercial Keke NAPEP in the State.
“The false alarm making the rounds that the State Government is planning to ban tricycle operation is promoted by the All Progressives Congress (APC), as a bait to lure the operator to support its campaigns in the state,” he said.
He said that though the ministry was partnering with some investors to introduce a corporate township call taxis service, to complement urban transportation, this did not amount to a plan to ban the operations of commercial tricycles.
The rumour, he said may be APC’s propaganda to misinform the people of the state in an attempt to destabilize government’s effort in administering the state, insisting that Keke activities are critical to transportation management in the state.
According to him, “Government is well aware of the fact that the operators depend solely on these services as their means of livelihood, and government will not be so insensitive as to abruptly terminate its operations.”
Dr. Ntukudeh, however, listed the gains of Keke in the state to include: creating informal employment for the youths, reduction of crime wave and ensuring security.
He noted that the new taxi scheme, when operational would complement the activities of Keke by plying those areas, where keke are restricted, while also offering call services to meet best practices, especially for visitors to the state.
He maintained that government was considering a long term plan should there be need for any withdrawal of Keke services by negotiating with operators and stakeholders in the industry so that, there would be no major disruption of their activities in future.
“Just as motorcycles were phased out for improved Keke activities, the people and operators will ultimately enjoy the new system government will put in place in the future”, Dr. Ntukudeh emphasized condemning rumours in some quarters that, Governor Udom Emmanuel was planning withdrawal of Keke operations in the state.
He explained that it was the Governor when he was Secretary to the State Government (SSG), who headed the Committee to harmonize Keke NAPEP operations in the state that resolved the issue of multiple levies on the operators as well as recommended fixed charge of two hundred (N200) naira daily, as authorized charge on operators across the state.