Tricycle (Keke NAPEP) operators, on Thursday, occupied the Minna-Bida Highway to protest the decision of the Niger State Government to increase levies and introduce barcode scanners as part of efforts to digitize revenue collection in the state.
The state government had earlier introduced the barcode scanners to digitize the collection of daily levies from the tricyclists and punish defaulters.
However, the Keke NAPEP operators described the decision as not well thought out as it will make them pay levies even on days they do not work.
One of the protesters, who simply identified himself as Shehu, told THE WHISTLER that the decision was inconsiderate as the government also raised the daily levies paid by the operators from N100 to N200.
“The Government is unfair. The new system will make us enslaved to the state government. With the system, we are going to pay every day whether we work or not,” he said.
“They have also increased revenue to N200 despite the economic hardship we are facing already. A lot of us don’t own the Keke (tricycle), we have to pay the owners weekly, pay for repairs and maintenance, buy fuel mostly at black market rate and now they want to add to the burden.”
One of the leaders of the protesters who spoke on the condition of anonymity told our correspondent that the tricycle operators will not resume work until the government reverses its decision.
“We are not going anywhere. The government has to hear us, no Keke driver will operate in the whole of Minna. We want the government to feel the heat and understand our challenges. The old system of revenue collection through the union was working, I see no reason why they just decide to bring in computers.
One of the stranded commuters, Bala Yunusa, a lecturer at the Niger State College of Health Technology, lamented the hardship caused by the protest while calling on the government to find a resolution to the impasse before it escalates further.
“I have been here for more than an hour, no Keke. Okada people would have helped but the government has banned them from operating. Everybody here is just Stranded and frustrated. I was supposed to have lectures this morning, but I don’t think I can make it again.
“We implore the government to find a solution to this problem so that normalcy would be restored.”
Our correspondent also observed a number of schoolchildren who were unable to find transportation to their respective schools.
Attempts to reach the Chief Press Secretary to the Niger State Government, Mary Noel Berje, were unsuccessful as she did not answer calls made to her line.
Read Full Story At: The Whistler.