Some tricyclists operating along Eliozu to Eleme Junction axis of the East West Road have lamented the hardship and suffering the state government ban on their trade will have on them and the families.
While reacting to Monday’s prohibition of their operation in selected areas of the Port Harcourt, the Keke drivers decried that government failed to consider the ripple effect of the directive before issuing it.
The ban was contained in a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Transportation, Hon. Sam Ejeku.
Ibe Amadi, one of the drivers said;
“Like what exactly does Governor Wike want us to do? This is the only thing that is keeping a lot of us going. Before this keke, I had no job for more than three years. It’s from here that I take care of myself, my wife and my parents in the village. If all of us downtool who will fend for us?”
While speaking to City News, another driver, Emeka Timothy noted that he is yet to complete the payment of his tricyclist he got on hire purchase warned that the directive would force many young drivers to embrace crime and implode insecurity in the Rivers State capital.
“What they do not seem to understand is that many of these boys who ride these Keke with us were criminals. Some cultists. We know them, they know us. This keke gave all of us a sense of livelihood. Many have changed and become responsible,” he said.
“I saw the list of places we have been banned. That’s like the whole of Port Harcourt. Over 10000 boys are about to be forced into the street. A hungry man is an angry man. They want to frustrate boys to go back to crime. Government should allow us.”
Meanwhile some passengers expressed mixed reaction on the government’s directive. Some decried the overspeeding and recklessness of some of the drivers on major roads.
A passenger, Maureen Uka recalled how she was robbed of her belongings by a keke driver at Eneka earlier in 2020. She alleged the excesses of the drivers had been allowed to fester unhindered for too long.
Emcee Bashiru, another passenger, said the directive have a bad toe on those who depend on their operation to sustain their families in the areas selected.
He pointed out that it is not only the operators in the areas banned that will suffer, but the levy collectors, their excos, those who have chains of tricycles and even hawkers who sell at the parks.
While Bashiru said that on an average, a keke driver makes N4,000 profit daily, adding that there was no way the unbanned areas will accommodate the population of Keke drivers who has been affected by the ban.