By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
Over 500 tricycle (Keke) operators in Imo state, Thursday, blocked the entrance into the Imo government house, over ban order.
Vanguard monitored the protest which started from Control post, World bank and Wethdral to the government House.
While given reasons for their demonstration, they said that they were surprised that they got an information, that they had been banned completely on Thursday, contrary to the deadline date earlier given to them.
According to some of the keke operators that the governor gave them upto December 1st as a deadline to stop operating in the metropolis.
Just as some said that suspected government officials were using the ban order to intimidate and extort money from them.
Speaking to Vaguard, one of them who introduced himself as Banky, said: “They have banned us three times. I believe Okorocha is not aware of all this, some people are taking advantage of the whole situation to get money.”
Another Keke drive, simply identified as King, “We want Okorocha to pity us. Let him show us where to ply within the capital city and not ban us completely. Some of us do not have jobs, except for this Keke.”
Earlir in his remark, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, said that the first phase of banning tricycle operating in the capital city of Owerri has commenced.
He said: “On this issue of Keke operators we have discussed with them and they seize to operate in some areas from today (Thursday) We have replaced them with taxis.
“What I understand is that the taxis we bought for them, they are using them outside the state, their reason was that as long as keke still ply in the capital city, it will be difficult for them to get passengers and they cannot compete with Keke.
“So fotunately enough those that got the taxis are the the same keke riders. As a result of this, they packed the taxis in their houses.
“However, we have agreed with them that we should start the first phase of the ban. That reminds me as from today (Thirseday) there will be no Keke on Wethedral road and among other areas.
“We are also introducing Imo black cap. It is special designed buses, that help to take away VIPs. This is to compliment the effort of taxi scheme. It is a way to give Owerri a new look.”
Over 500 keke operators, yesterday, blocked Imo government House, over ban order. Photo by Chinonso Alozie.