From Ado Abubakar Musa Jos
The Plateau State Government has suspended the proposed training programme for tricycle riders in the State following a mass protest by the operators of the tricycles.
Operators of the tricycles popularly known as Keke NAPEP on Monday morning took a mass protest to the State Assembly and Joseph Gomwalk Secretariat to disagree with the training fee of N5,800 for each rider as directed by the State Government.
Our correspondent reporters that the protest which started early on Monday morning within Jos left thousands of passengers stranded.
Leader of the tricycle riders in Jos who led the protest said, “We are protesting the exorbitant tax being charged on us which is unreasonably high considering the harsh economic realities in the nation and also the constant harassment on us in the State by men of the Vehicle Inspection Office of Plateau State Ministry of Works and Transport”.
“We are demonstrating to kick against unfair charges by the Plateau State Government”
The riders who had visited the State Assembly, but couldn’t meet lawmakers later moved straight to the State Secretariat .
Some of the protesters further moved to various locations in the city including Dogon Karfe, Tudun Wada, Bauchi Road and Old Airport among others blocked roads and offloaded tricycles carrying passengers, forcing them to park.
However the Plateau State Government has immediately suspended the exercise due to the security challenge .
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Works and Transportation Engr. Gabriel Mafulul while addressing the protesters at the State Secretariat appealed to all the tricycle riders in the state to remain calm.
“The Ministry of Works and Transport wish to announce that the ongoing Training Program for tricycle riders in the state in respect of the amount for training and the procedure for licencing is hereby suspended pending further consultations”.
Mafulul disclose that the state Government was only trying to keep a comprehensive data for all commercial vehicles operating in the state for proper coordination of their activities.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to Gov. Simon Lalong on media, Dan Manjang said in a telephone interview that government has only introduced registration for all tricycles as well as driver’s license in compliance with growing security and developmental needs of the state.
He said the government was considering meeting with the tricycle riders union officials to find “common grounds” into the conflict.
As at the time of filing this report, normalcy has returned to the state following the suspension of the payment of the training fee by the State Government through the Ministry of Works and Transport.