Home News Protesting Keke operators shutdown Umuahia

Protesting Keke operators shutdown Umuahia

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Economic activities in Umuahia, Abia State capital was halted on Monday as Abia State Amalgamated Tricycle Operators Association (ASATOA), in protest against intimidation of its members, took to the streets.
The Keke operators took over major roads as at 8am blocking strategic points along Aba-Umuwaya Road, Ibiam Road and Isigate which is the city centre.
The situation made vehicular movement impossible as parents and guardians who were conveying their children to school found it very difficult to do so.
Showcasing placards which read:“ TIMASS has killed Us  KEKE Operators, Enough of Police Intimidation, Gov Ikpeazu Help Us, Cultists, Thugs and Vampires have invaded and taken over KEKE Parks” among other inscriptions, the Keke riders vented their anger.
However, the protest which lasted several hours affected their operations as they kept off the road making commuters trek long distances while commercial buses plying Ubakala and Ikwuano cashed in on the absence of Tricycle operators to have field day as they increased fares by 50%.
Speaking to our reporter, one of the protesters who claimed to be one of the ASATOA Taskforce Leader, Comrade Uchechukwu Obiakara said the operators would carry out  the protest till the whole of yesterday in protest to intimidation by a government agency and the Local government obstruction and monitoring unit.
“We are protesting the way government agencies are intimidating us, the State Transport Management and Safety Scheme (TIMASS) does not allow us to operate the way we should, when they see KEKE operator, they will impound the tricycle and take you to their office where they impose various degrees of fines on our members.
“The other group is from the Local government area that operates in a bus, where ever they see KEKE dropping or picking passenger, they would off load the Tricycle and take it to the Council Area where they will only release it to the owner on payment of fines, ranging from N2,000.
He stressed that aside these unfavorable operational behavior from these government agencies, KEKE operators are still grasping for time as the State government limits their operational time to 7pm.
Reacting to the claims that a taskforce from the Local government Council go about impounding  commercial tricycles and releasing them on payment of certain fines, the Transition Committee Chairman of Umuahia North Metropolitan Council, Mr Kelechi  Onyenze Ezechukwu denied it.
Ezechukwu  said he is aware of the taskforce and that he had directed his deputy, Eze Okwulehie to constitute and monitor but was surprised of the outcry.
He disclosed that after a review of the situation which he described as embarrassing to the Council.
Ezechukwu further disclosed that plans are on the way to mount signs on the affected  Roads warning  car owners not to Park along the designated points.
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