The Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo has banned tricycle ( Keke) and shuttle bus unions in the state. The governor also announced the sacking of touts (Agbero) from motor parks in the state. These decisions were contained in a public notice announcement signed by the state Commissioner for Information, Paul Nwosu, circulated to journalists in Awka, the Anambra State capital on Thursday. In the announcement, the state government asked the entire sacked motor park touts to proceed and register in their local government areas for government- sponsored training and life-support skills.
Government maintained that security reports indicated that those masquerading under different names as tricycle (keke) and shuttle bus unions were orchestrating the breakdown of law and order in the state, adding that there were also conflicts arising from various persons and entities claiming to be the appropriate authority to unionize tricycle and shuttle bus operators or owners who had openly rejected these claims and insisted that the unions were not working for them.
The government’s announcement read in part,” In the light of the above and in order to forestall breakdown of law and order, the state government hereby suspends all tricycle and shuttle bus unions in the State with immediate effect for six months, pending further investigations and a possible harmonization of the unions which shall have a leadership known to, and recognized by, the State Government.
“Consequent on this and as a follow up to government’s recent consultation with the direct representatives of tricycle and shuttle bus operators, Government has considered their plea and decided to offer them a convenient payment option and other fringe benefits that could add value to their well-being.
“Tricycle operators now have the option of paying N4, 000 weekly or N15, 000 monthly. However, tricycle operators in the 8 Local Government Areas that are affected by the curfew will pay N3000 weekly or N12, 000 monthly. They will revert to the normal rates of N4, 000 weekly or N15, 000 monthly as soon as the curfew is lifted. Shuttle bus operators will pay N 5,000 weekly or N20, 000 monthly.
“But because of the ASUU strike that resulted in the closure of universities, NANS shuttle bus will pay N2, 500 weekly or N10, 000 monthly. This group will also revert to the normal rates of N5, 000 weekly or N20, 000 monthly as soon as the strike is called off. Taxi will pay N4, 375 weekly or N17, 500 monthly. Township bus will pay N5, 000 weekly or N20, 000 monthly. Mini truck and Pick up will pay N5, 000 weekly or N20, 000 monthly respectively. Intra-state will pay N6, 250 weekly or N25, 000 monthly.
“Loading and offloading in Government (public) parks will now be free. Moving forward, every compliant commercial vehicle driver will get a free Health Insurance cover that would enable the insured has access to basic health and emergency services in any Anambra State hospital.” “Government wishes to reiterate its ban on touts (agbero) and cult groups that are used to enforce illegal collection of tolls and taxes.
Only government accredited agents are entitled to collect tolls. Alternatively, the commercial vehicle operator could go and pay at any of the banks or any Anambra State Internal Revenue Service (AIRS) pay-point nearest to him.” The statement further enjoined operators and members of the public to report the activities of ‘agberos’ to designated telephone numbers, while the disbanded motor park touts and cultists “who have no jobs should go and register their names and phone numbers with their Local Government Area offices. Government will train them on life-supporting skills or find them other means of livelihood that would enable them live a decent life.” Recall that there have been reported cases of the protest by Keke and shuttle bus operators in the state for two days over an alleged N7.2bn annually tax imposed on them by the state government.