RIVERS State Government has banned tricycles, better known as Keke Napep, in Port Harcourt, the state capital and adjoining communities.
The ban in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area also extends to Obio/Akpor, Oyigbo and Eleme areas.
Controller-General of Rivers State Road Traffic Management Authority, TIMA-RIV, Mr. Nelson Jaja, who made the announcement, yesterday, said it was to check the spate of traffic offences by the tricycle riders.
He said: “We have banned Keke operators in Port Harcourt metropolis to checkmate their criminal activities and reduce the traffic challenges posed by their activities. We don’t want to see them in prohibited areas henceforth.”
The TIMARIV boss also hinted on plans to “arrest traders, who have converted major roads in Port Harcourt to their shops. They should vacate these major roads because apart from constituting a traffic offense, it is also very risky and dangerous.”
The ban of tricycles has sparked off angry reactions from residents, who see the ban as insensitive on the part of government.
Grace Hart, who lives at Oyigbo, said: “Since the ban of “Okada” (commercial motorbike) in Port Harcourt years back, the Keke has served as a reliable alternative for street movements in remote areas not plied by taxis. Why is government interested in frustrating the poor?”
Justus Madu of Elelenwo, argued: “When Governor Chibuike Amaechi banned Okada in Port Harcourt, he introduced city buses to cushion the effect. Nothing of the sort had been considered here. So what does TIMARIV want those without cars to do, trek all the way?”