Feature

Kano: When tricycle operator crippled North’s business hub

Although today’s realities remain that most things that affect societies are in the hands of private handlers, this is because of the liberalization policy that the globe has adopted to allow markets determine itself.

 

However, experts still believe that there are still certain things that governments must have concern over. For example, Heath, Education, Security, Transport and even Energy, no government can gamble the complete surrendering of these aspects in the hands of private entrepreneurs in the name of liberalization or capitalization as the case might be.

 

In Kano, governments over time, have despite these nagging realities that it’s a society with the huge population, which presumably is the most populous city today in Nigeria, needs the attention of government in some sectors, like transport. But incidentally, nothing or little was done to gain control over full ownership of private handlers by the authorities.

 

That is why, today, the transport system in Kano, is largely being controlled by any Dick and Harry, all in the name of allowing full participation of private sector in some aspects of people’s lives.

 

That has allowed the Adaidaita Sahu or Keke NAPEP to become kings of the roads as they are often called. Because of these nagging facts, hoodlums, criminals, vandals, and even suspected terrorists have nearly taken over Kano transportation system, something that kept putting lives in danger on so many perspectives.

 

These perspectives include frequent accidents, stealing of persons and whisking them and the notorious problems of stealing phones, which all result to killings.

 

Unfortunately, even as the transport system is being controlled by the private sector, one expect that right persons and right kind of transportation would be allowed to flourish in the society. Instead, Adaidaita Sahu or Keke NAPEP are the ones that are in full control of the roads. With any slight provocation, they threaten to go on strike.

 

That is why the strike embarked by the tricycle operators in Kano last week, left passengers stranded due to a shortage of means of transportation and the obvious control of the transportation system by them. Many people were left with the only option of trekking in the metropolitan areas through long distances. In many areas of the state visited, people were seen stranded at different bus stops within the metropolitan local governments.

 

The tricycle operators were agitating that the N8, 000 imposed as operational permit for each operator was too high; they were seeking for review of the permit price. This situation also allowed Okada riders, who were banned to resurface while security personnel were seen patrolling strategic locations to ensure peace and order in the state A tricycle rider, Musbahu Ali, who spoke to our correspondent, decried the high dues collected from them by the government as revenue.

 

Speaking to journalists, the Managing Director of Kano Road Traffic Agency, Alhaji Baffa Babba Danagundi, said the government was spending a huge amount of money in building infrastructure, security, and other facilities the tricycle operators were enjoying, hence measures needed to be implored in ensuring that revenue was derived for the maintenance of the infrastructure and enhancing security.

 

He said: “We cut down the dues of operational permit from N100,000 to N8,000 only, and in the last two years, no kobo was collected from the tricycle operators as a result of COVID-19. Yet, these operators felt that the charges are too high for them despite the infrastructure and security they are enjoying in Kano.” Baffa Babba Dan’agundi added that the government has concluded arrangements for provision of mass transit buses for  transportation geared toward alleviating the suffering of the people.

 

As the strike action bit harder last week, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Alhaji Hamisu Ibrahim Chidari, urged the tricycle operators to suspend their strike for the development of the state, something that would make them great again.

 

He explained that the Kano State House of Assembly had contacted the management of Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA), and the leadership of the tricycle riders association to settle the dispute amicably. He maintained that, a meeting would be held with both parties to resolve the conflict. Chidari decried the hardship encountered by passengers due to the strike, which had paralysed activities in the state.

 

The speaker reaffirmed the house’s commitment in moving the state forward through passing of laws aimed at uplifting the standard of living among people. Tricycle operators had lamented that the N8,000 imposed as operational permit was too high and sought a downward review of the price.

 

The Managing Director of the KAROTA, Alhaji Baffa Babba Dan Agundi, said there was no going back on the payment of the said amount, as government was spending huge amount of money in building infrastructure that tricycle operators were enjoying without revenue.

 

He pointed out that preparations were in top gear for the provision of mass transit buses by the government to alleviate transportation problems in the state. As the strike continued, the Kano State Police Command on Monday arrested 40 persons from various parts of Kano metropolis for allegedly committing criminal conspiracy, breach of public peace, extortion, mischief and theft.

 

The spokesman, Kano Police command, DSP Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, told journalists that the suspected persons were hiding under the ongoing strike action embarked by tricycle operators to execute criminal acts. He alleged that those arrested were miscreants, who conspired at various locations to execute crime under the excuse of observing the strike action.

 

According to him: “Today, Monday, 10th of January, we received a report that some miscreants hiding under the pretext of the strike action by tricycle operators had blocked major roads within the ancient city.

 

“The suspects were armed with clubs, knifes, and other types of dangerous weapons. They obstructed the flow of traffic and public peace. They also indulged in extortion, theft and arson. “CP Samaila Dikko swung into action.

 

He immediately dispatched our officers and men to the various scenes.

 

The suspects were arrested. Similar operations were executed in other parts of the city, culminating into the arrest of 40 suspects.” Kiyawa warned that, though it is a constitutional right to exercise strike action, but it does not warrant people to commit any kind of criminal activity under the guise of strike action.

 

He warned that officers and men of the command were on high alert to deal with any unlawful situation, while urging residents to continue to go about their lawful business in all parts of the state.

 

All these exposed the nagging reality that government has failed by allowing hoodlums, criminals, vandals and even suspected terrorists to take over Kano transportation system, which calls for urgent actions to salvage the ugly scenario.

 

The strike has also resulted in the returns of Commercial motorcycle operators, otherwise known as Okada riders, despite government’s ban on their activities in eight Local Government Areas of the state. Investigation revealed that a sizable num  ber of Okada riders popularly known as Achaba in local parlance were seen offering quick services to customers early morning and late night in some major streets and in the neighbourhoods.

 

The Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso administration had at the wake of attacks on the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero by suspected Boko Haram members on January 19 2013 in the city, restricted Okada riders’ activities and directed them to vacate Kano streets by 6pm and must not carry passengers within the metropolitan councils.

 

Sequel to the development, residents that witnessed several killings masterminded by Boko Haram on motor bike had expressed concerns.

 

Malam Bala Dan’azumi said that, “we are worried by the gradual return of Achaba riders in Kano streets, most especially within the neighbourhood, where it has become a past time for them to carry out their nefarious activities.”

 

Dan’azumi, who lives in Kurna Asabe, noted that, “there is laxity on the part of enforcing authorities, who at the moment appear not ready to enforce the law for reasons best known to them. I know Kano too well. If others are doing it and getting away with it, be rest assured that multitude would join them in the next few days, and it would be difficult to control them”

 

But the Police Public Relations Officer, Magaji Musa Majia, in a reaction declared in 2013, that “the ban prohibiting their activities between 6am-6pm is still in force, stressing that “the order restricting cyclist from carrying passenger is also in full force. It was occasioned by the relaxation of enforcement during the Holy month of Ramadan.”

 

Now, with all these unfortunate transportation scenario, government’s negligence is stronger in not taking the chance and vacuum created by the absence of these notorious operators on the state roads.

 

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