Governor of Borno state, Babagana Zulum had on Saturday undo his ban order on the importation and sales of Keke Napep (commercial tricycle ) in Maiduguri, a decision he took last year as a measure of reducing traffic recklessness by operators.
The ban had since caused over 5000 operators to lose their jobs due to lack of buying new tricycles to replace their old ones.
The governor had also in December 2019 banned tricycles from plying the major highways of Maiduguri, as he planned to replace their service with the deployment of taxis and metro buses. Though the governor’s latter embargo was not complied with or enforced, the ban on sales of the tricycles was enforced to the letter.
The ban on sales of tricycles has negatively affected commuting in Maiduguri, a city populated by over 3 million people. To that effect residents of the city began to complain about how the embargo of Keke Napep sales has not only induced joblessness but began to fuel crime and criminality amongst young people.
Recently, some of the residents took to social media to berate the state of suffering in Maiduguri, with earnest calls on the government to review some of its hardline policies regardless of how well-intended they are perceived to be.
A recent call was made by a Facebook user who wrote an Open Letter to governor Zulum detailing all the hardship residents are going through and why the governor needed to review some of the policies including the ban on the sales of Keke-Napep.
Impressively, Governor Zulum had on Saturday, October 2, 2021, proven that he is indeed a listening leader when he immediately summoned a meeting with the commercial tricycle (Keke-Napep) riders at the government house Maiduguri where he announced the lifting of the embargo placed on sales of tricycles.
The governor also made another mouthwatering announcement to the delighted Keke-Napep riders which if implemented would revamp the city transportation system.
A press statement released on Sunday by Isa Gusau, Governor Zulum’s chief spokesman, indicated that
“Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum on Saturday, in Maiduguri, hosted operators of ‘Keke NAPEP’ during which he directed the procurement of 500 tricycles and 100 Toyota cars (Corolla LE) for subsidized allocations,” Gusau, a Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, said.
“At Government House meeting, held at his instance, Governor Zulum explained that about 2000 Keke NAPEP operators, who currently do not have their tricycles, will benefit from the intervention in which case, four (4) operators will be allocated one tricycle for shared business, which means 2000 operators will own the 500 tricycles.
“He said another 200 persons will jointly own 100 Toyota cars.
“As subsidy, all 2,200 beneficiaries will be required to repay only 50% of the market value of the tricycles and cars which they will generate from the business while Government will waive the remaining 50%, Zulum announced.
“The Governor directed the state’s ministry of transportation to liaise with various unions of the tricycle operators to agree on suitable and acceptable modalities for the allocation.
Zulum however, warned that only deserving members who do not have their tricycle should be considered.
“The Governor recalled that while the government had banned the importation of tricycles into Maiduguri to curtail case of crimes committed and address congestions along the main roads, the coming intervention is based on need.
“He further said, all measures were in the best interest of the tricycle riders while acknowledging the huge employment opportunities it has provided.
“One of the union leaders amongst the operators, Alhaji Hurso Grema, expressed appreciation to Governor Zulum for the coming intervention and for some regulatory measures introduced by the Government which he said, had saved their occupation from incursions by bad elements who hitherto tried using tricycles for criminal acts.
Zulum had last year, allocated similar tricycles and cars to operators in Biu town.”