How Gov Obiano Tackled Extortion of Keke Operators- Obiora

How Gov Obiano Tackled Extortion of Keke Operators- Obiora
…Calls For Mobile CourtTo Try Touts
From Alphonsus Nweze
The President of Unified Tricycle Owners and Riders Association of Anambra State (UTORAAS), Comrade Sylvester Okafor, has said the essence of the ongoing branding of all the Tricycles in Anambra State was to secure the lives of people in the State and their properties.
Okafor who spoke when he received the Chief Taskforce Officer of UTORAAS and his team, Dede Uzor A. Uzor, in his office at Onitsha Monday, said that Government has no intention to make money out of the branding, noting that before now Keke was being used for one chance robbery operation in major cities of the State.
He said with the branding it would be difficult to use any Keke to commit crime without being traced.
Okafor said with the exception of Awka, the process has been going on well in other parts of the State especially Onitsha and environs.
The President said about 4000 Tricycles representing about 70 percent Keke operating in the State have been branded, attributing the success of the exercise in Onitsha and environs to the transparency.
He said the amount for the branding was three thousand naira (3,000) only, warning that on no account should any person exceed that approved amount,unless people who can accept less to rebrand.
He said that as Keke operators were paying the money, they should obtain their receipts and specifications for the branding.
He noted that the branding would provide them opportunity to enumerate the Tricycles operating in the State, which will help in revenue collection and security of the State as it would reduce one chance crime.
He warned those touts who still extort money from Keke operators that they in collaboration with the security operatives would go after them.
The President said the Governor approved a fee of N450 to be paid by each Keke operator in the State daily, warning that anybody that go beyond that would incur the wrath of the State Governor.
“It was to resolve the issue of extortion of Keke operators that the Governor stopped the collection of levy for sometime and when reintroduced, he drastically reduced it to 450 from almost N2,500 per a day they were forced to pay” he said .
The President said to demonstrate their seriousness, they sacked seven Keke revenue collectors in Onitsha South last week for extortion and arrested one person at Owerri Road for extorting Keke operators there.
He said that what has brought sanitty to Keke operation in the State was the reduction of the contractors who were collecting revenues from Keke from six to one.
The one contractor now, he said was being managed by Keke operators themselves, saying that the other contractors excluded were still fighting to return to the field but that will create the roudy unorganized and extortionist Keke operation again in the State.
“So, we have only one ticket instead of six and that has brought sanity, but the contractors are not happy.They want to return back to make money for themselves. But the owners and riders and even our passengers are happy now. If they return they will come back with their many touts on the road. And we will go back to square one” he said.
Okafor called for the creation of Mobile Courts to try touts disturbing Keke riders on the roads since the Police were not cooperating enough in their arraignment.
In his speech Dede Uzor, who is also the media officer of UTORAAS assured that his team will dislodge the touts on the roads with the cooperation of the President.
He said what they did was a show of force that took them to major roads in Onitsha North and South like Porthacourt road, Oguta Road, Modebe Avenue, Awka Road, Enugu Road among others.

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