Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has stated the preparedness of his administration to extend the operational time for Keke operators in Aba and Umuahia to 9pm if only the operators can commit to the prevention of criminal the use of their tricycles to perpetrate crimes.
Governor Ikpeazu made this known today at a parley he had with the leadership of the Keke Operators known as the Abia State Amalgamated Tricycle Operators Association (ASATOA) held at the Governor’s Lodge Aba.
The Governor had personally invited the leadership of the Union in Aba and Umuahia to inform them that he is not happy that their operational hours was limited but he was left with no choice owing to the consistent use of Keke to commit crimes which ranges from armed robbery to kidnapping.
Ikpeazu challenged them to rise to the occasion and flush out criminal elements amongst their membership and stated that he believed that those who were involved in the criminal acts were not genuine Keke operators.
He told them to develop a comprehensive database of their registered members with full particulars of their persons as a way to help checkmate the use of Keke to convey criminals.
He reminded them that he has a close affinity with transport unions having served as the General Manager of the Abia State Passengers Insurance Manifest Scheme (ASPIMS) and made it known that transport operators are key stakeholders in the economy of the state and should not allow few bad eggs to paint them in bad light.
He urged them to form task forces to help monitor the activities of their members with a view to identifying the ones who engage in illegal activities.
Governor Ikpeazu told them that if they could show this commitment in writing and outline clear measures on how they will achieve this, and bring the document to his office on Monday, he would immediately extend their operational time. He also assured them that his administration will support them to achieve this in every possible way.
Responding, the leaders of ASATOA in Aba and Umuahia assured the Governor of their readiness to take up this challenge. The Aba Chapter Leader told the Governor that they had already implemented a detailed database of their members with specific numbers assigned to each Tricycle for easy identification. According to him, this measure has helped reduce the use of Keke in criminal activities in Aba. He told the Governor that they regularly catch criminals who use Keke to commit crimes and hand them over to the Police and even fund their prosecution.
The Umuahia Chapter Chairman assured the Governor that they will toe the same line and outlined the challenges they have in their operations, stating that even when they catch these thieves and hand over to the Police, these suspects manage to secure their release. He urged the Governor to assist them in this direction.
The Union leaders assured the Governor of their support to his administration as they have always done, describing the Governor as “One of them” as a result of his close relationship with them when he served as GM of ASPIMS.