… As Tricycle Operators Protest Multiple Tickets, Imposition of Association
BY ABUCHI IFESINACHI, AWKA
The Unified Tricycle Operators of Anambra state has vehemently protested incessant interference and intrusion of the present state commissioner for transport into the affairs of the association.
The tricycle operators have equally accused the transport commissioner of allegedly being instrumental to the formation of a rival tricycle association which they saw as a subtle means of extortion and exploitation of the peasant of Keke riders in the state.
State chairman of the Anambra state tricycle operators chief Patrick Ezenwa who revealed the plight of the Keke riders in the state to newsmen in Awka last week end , said that tricycle operators were subjected to all forms of inhumane treatments in the course of their day-to-day commercial activities and that the association was bereft with myriads of teething problems .
According to him ” our association is faced with a lot of problems mainly what i will call people trying to use their influence in government to distract the business of keke in Anambra state.When a new government comes in , people will decide to use the people in government to bring problem , either to go and get one revenue ticket or the other inspite of the order from the state government that only the state can collect revenue. But today we have local government collecting revenue from keke all because some people, because they know the chairman, they will go and collect these revenues. Selling tickets to keke riders is now a business which everybody wants to jump into… ”
Chief Ezenwa further lamented that the major problem of the association was that government officials were in the habit of meddling into the affairs of keke operators stressing 2011 it was difficult for all tricycle operators in Anmabra to come under one umbrella due to balcanization as well as divide and rule mechanism perpetrated by some government officials to destabilize the association and create revenue windows and multiple tickets for personal aggrandizement.
He recalled that there was a time in the state when keke riders paid 900 naira daily in buying tickets from different groups purportedly collecting revenue for government .The chairman said that keke operators had to protest to end the extortion and outright exploitation on their income pointing out that the 900 naira ticket fees was however reduced to 300 naira after series of demonstrations noting that the 300 naira was still on the high side as majority of the keke riders operated on hire-purchase basis .
According to him multiple unions and associations have brought untold rancour and acrimony to the tricycle operators. To this end chief Ezenwa said that the keke riders in one accord decided on August 8 2014 to have a mutual agreement endorsed by them to enable them come under one umbrella body as Unified Tricycle Association to avoid multiple taxation but the said memorandum of understanding did not see the light of the day as he disclosed further that a counter tricycle association was formed through the instrumentality of the incumbent Anambra state commissioner for transport.
Chief Ezenwa was however of the opinion that the state government should wade into the matter and make efforts to unite separate unions and associations in the fold of keke riders to ensure harmony in revenue collection adding that government should equally have a level playing field for all and sundry . He also revealed that a peaceful demonstration was averted in Onitsha recently over issues of confronting them while keke riders in the state were currently brandishing their swords in readiness for a protest over alleged imposition of association and multiple revenue collection.