Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara has said there is the need to regulate the operation of commercial tricycles for efficiency and to combat insecurity.
The governor made the clarification on Tuesday against the backdrop of rumours that the state government was planning to ban commercial tricycle, popularly called Keke NAPEP in the State.
The governor, who addressed officials and about 200 operators of commercial tricycles, at the Borno State Secretariat Maiduguri, said he called up the meeting to clarify government stand on their operation.
He told them that his government had no plan to ban commercial tryclycle but intend to strictly regulate their activities, in order to address growing social and security concerns in the State capital, Maiduguri.
The governor had two weeks ago, met officials of the associations during which he told them the problems concerning Keke NAPEP operations and the regulatory plans.
He told them on Tuesday that: “Two weeks ago, I invited and hosted officials of your various associations to a meeting at the Government houses. I explained the issues we are faced with and the fact we are not banning Keke NAPEP but to strictly regulate them.
” I know how important Keke NAPEP has been. It is the most sorted means of transportation for majority of our brothers and sisters in Maiduguri. I know that thousands of residents depend on Keke NAPEP to go to many remote locations that are off major roads. I am also not insensitive to the political values of Keke NAPEP operators who are in high numbers. If I should be political, I can say that from statistics of the 2019 election, more than 80 percent of Keke NAPEP operators openly supported me and campaigned for my election. I know all these. However, governance is about enforcing sanity.
“People know that we are facing influx of displaced persons to Maiduguri and some unknown persons are trying to exploit our situation. We have disturbing information about the influx of Keke NAPEP from different parts of the country into Maiduguri. Almost on daily basis, dozens of Keke NAPEP are brought into the capital so much that the number of Keke NAPEP has become very alarming.
“We intend to strictly regulate the influx of Keke NAPEP into Borno State, we intend to thoroughly establish the identities of those who own and operate these Keke NAPEP and issue regulatory identification numbers to every Keke NAPEP and operator.
” We also intend to reduce the number of Keke NAPEP operators but as I told your officials two weeks ago and I also repeated yesterday during the budget presentation, we are bringing in 100 taxis and 50 buses and these taxis and buses will be allocated to qualified operators of Keke NAPEP as alternative means of transportation.”
” How could I have contemplated ban when government has not provided alternative transport and means of livelihoods for operators? We all know that no amount of taxis and buses can replace the convenience Keke NAPEP affords residents because of comfortability and ruggedness that make them access every location” Zulum said as the operators responded with thunderous ovation.
The Governor called on the operators to obey traffic rules and assured them that government will not for the sake of regulation, disregard the interest of majority of citizens.
He emphasized that: “Rules are to serve majority of citizens not the other way round. We can’t introduce policies that we know will be unpopular with those that voted us into office.”
The Governor later invited officials of the associations for another meeting during which he was to incorporate them in the formulation of all regulatory steps he was considering.