Tricycle Protests Soludo moves to upstage revenue touts. Movement was halted last Thursday and Friday in Awka, the capital of Anambra State, when shuttle bus and commercial tricycle drivers stopped working.
Due to the protestors’ strike, workers and traders who were getting ready to depart for work were prevented from getting to their workplaces and places of business.
Many people, including children and kids who couldn’t get to school because the bus operators weren’t there, were spotted waiting at bus stops. However, until tricyclists began to appear at significant intersections about 10 am, lighting bonfires and screaming protest songs, it was unclear to many what could have gone wrong.
There is a significant amount of cultism in Awka, which many people have linked to tricycle drivers, their union officials, and influential people who profit from several specialized routes across the city.
Recently, Governor of Anambra State Prof. Chukwuma Soludo established a new tax structure for operators and provided a grace period that has already ended. After the grace period expired, Soludo declared that instead of paying tax daily as they had been doing, the State’s tricycle operators will now pay tax monthly.
According to a press statement issued by the State Internal Revenue Board and signed by its chairman and chief executive, Mr. Richard Madiebo, “Shuttle bus operators will pay N20,000 monthly, while tricycle operators will pay N15,000 monthly.”
Operators showed some reluctance due to the size of the payment, but the State government did well to explain it, stating that before to that, operators paid revenue touts up to N1,500 each day, which amounted to over N40,000 per month.
However, the union officials welcomed the operators in an effort to stay relevant, which sparked the demonstrations. The State government has taken action by speaking with the operators and issuing new orders in an effort to address the transportation issue in the State.
Human rights advocate Comrade Osita Obi, Coordinator of the Keke Drivers’ Association, who observed a two-day meeting on Saturday and Sunday following the demonstration on Thursday and Friday, blamed the union members who invited the operators for a protest.
According to Obi, the N15,000 monthly payment is not the tricycle operators’ main complaint; rather, it is the ongoing harassment they will experience after paying the sum, as they are still required to send money to touts who collaborate with their union leaders and pose as revenue agents, defying the governor’s directive that after the N15,000 was paid, no more money would be paid.
After becoming aware of the touts’ ongoing activity, Prof. Soludo banned them. The government made significant choices in a press statement that was signed by Sir Paul Nwosu, Commissioner for Information.
“The State administration today suspends all tricycle and shuttle bus unions in the State with immediate effect for a period of six months in an effort to prevent a breakdown in peace and order. This is subject to more research and potential union harmonization, the leadership of which must be known to and respected by the State Government. The government has listened to their request and determined to provide them with a practical payment alternative and other ancillary advantages that may improve their well-being, he added.
Tricycle operators now have the choice of paying N4,000 weekly or N15,000 monthly, according to the commissioner Nwosu, who claimed to have explained how they might do so. Tricycle drivers in the 8 LGAs that are subject to the curfew, however, would be paid N3,000 weekly or N12,000 monthly. As soon as the curfew is removed, they will return to their regular rates of N4,000 weekly or N15,000 monthly. Operators of shuttle buses would receive N5,000 per week or N20,000 per month.
The government said that NANS shuttle buses in the region will pay N2,500 weekly or N10,000 monthly, taking into account operators near the university environment and the ongoing ASUU strike. When the customary rates of N5,000 per week or N20,000 per month resume for this group,
“Township bus would receive N20,000 per month or N5,000 each week. Pick-up and Mini trucks would cost N5,000 per week or N20,000 per month, respectively. The intra-state rate is N6,250 per week or N25,000 per month. In government (public) parks, loading and unloading are now free. Every commercial vehicle driver who complies with the law will now receive a free health insurance policy that will provide them access to basic medical care and emergency services at any hospital in the state of Anambra.
“Government desires to reaffirm its prohibition on touts (agbero) and cult organizations that are employed to impose illegitimate toll and tax collection. Tolls may only be collected by agents authorized by the government. Alternatively, the driver of a business vehicle might visit any bank or Anambra State Internal Revenue Office and make a payment.
All Keke and shuttle bus unions in the State have been outlawed further by Soludo.
‘Soludo has taken efforts to perfect Anambra, and her earnings, but we hope that he can tame the Keke union,’ public affairs expert Jude Eze said. That’s where everything is going wrong. The capacity to implement the prohibition, not its issuance, is what matters.