The Imo State government yesterday banned tricycles, popularly called Keke, from operating in Owerri, the state capital.
The ban takes effect from September 5.
Governor Rochas Okorocha, who announced the ban at the inauguration of the state’s taxi scheme, said only the taxis will be allowed to operate in the capital city.
He said: “For that reason, we have shared about 2,000 Volkswagen Passat wagon cars to the Keke operators on Wednesday to enable them comply with the directive. Balloting was conducted at the Hero’s Square, for the beneficiaries.”
Okorocha noted that “the second batch of beneficiaries will get theirs in October while the third batch will have their own in December”.
He added: “Keke operators would no longer be expected to operate on the major roads of Douglas, Wetheral, Bank Road, Orlu Road and other designated roads.”
Addressing the Keke operators, Okorocha said: “Few years ago when the Keke people gave me a very resounding support, I promised that I will change you from three-legged to four-legged. For that reason, today marks the beginning of the movement from tricycle to a full car.
“Now, government has made provision for 2,000 taxis to enable all of you have one taxi each. This is done to give you comfort and make your life prosperous. I would not have been happy if I completed this tenure without fulfilling my promise.
“For the purpose of clarity, this is government’s empowerment scheme for the masses is to reduce pains in your families and bring comfort. Keke has served us well in Imo State. I want to thank you for serving us well. But as Imo State is developing and getting better with good roads and a lot of infrastructural developments. Keke can no longer be the appropriate means of transportation within the Owerri city. This is why we are moving from Keke to car…”