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A multitude of tricycle operators in Anambra State on Saturday staged a peaceful protest alleging extortion, harassment, and incessant killings of their members in the State.
The protesters blocked the road leading to the Anambra state House of Assembly and the judiciary complex at the Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, the state capital.
The protesters who carried placards with varying inscriptions alleged that the acts killing, extortion and harassment were being perpetuated by suspected cultists engaged by some of the government officials in the name of revenue collections.
Speaking at the protest, the coordinator, Awka North and South Keke Drivers Welfare forum, comrade Osita Obi, listed the levies the tricycle operators illegally pay to include end of year party fee of ₦4,500, ID card renewal of ₦3,500, State Management Code of ₦8,000, ₦50,000 membership registration, among others.
He said, ‘A lot of people have been killed in this town because of who gets what from Keke revenue. We don’t want it again. The keke drivers are tired of leadership imposition and want to be allowed to operate independently.
‘That many of them can’t afford living in good houses, sending their children to good schools and wearing good clothes doesn’t mean they are not making money. But cultists engaged by some government officials as revenue collectors are milking them dry.
‘We want to state clearly that if anything should happen to any of these drivers or to the speaker, people should hold the government of Anambra state responsible. We expect government to intervene.
‘The Keke drivers are willing to pay legitimate government revenues, but obnoxious revenues will no longer be tolerated.
‘I’ve met Transport Commissioner several times on these issues, but he feigned ignorance, but I’m sure he is aware. I’m not doing this to run any government official down, but to restore sanity in the system. Enough of this exploitation and harassment.
‘I’m using this opportunity to thank the police and the DSS for providing us security during this protest . We also congratulate the Governor-elect, Prof. Soludo because we believe that as a man with an independent mind he will not tolerate all this nonsense in the state’.
One of the protesters, Emeka Eze, blamed failure to conduct election to replace the existing tricycle operators leadership in the state as the reason behind the crisis and killing in the union.
‘I’m an HND holder from Kaduna State Polytechnic, Zaria. I ventured into this business so as to be financially independent
‘We want the state government to compel the leadership to conduct a fresh election so we can assume leadership and be in charge of our affairs.
‘When the election is democratically conducted, those extorting us would be removed from office’.
The State government however has reacted by saying it would deal decisively with any official found extorting tricycle operators in the state.
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