Many commuters were forced to trek long distances in Kano on Tuesday as commercial tricycle operators withdrew their services for the second day in the city.

The operators are protesting against being asked to pay a levy to the state government.

Tricycles, locally called ‘keke’, are the dominant mode of intra-city transportation in Kano and other states in Nigeria.

The protest of the operators began after the state’s Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA) imposed a daily levy of N100 on each tricycle.

Under the new tax policy of the government, each tricycle operator will make a bulk payment of N18,000 as the daily levy for six months, before transiting to daily N100 levy.

The Chairman of Kano Tricycle Owners Association, Sani Dankoli, earlier appealed to the state government to suspend the enforcement of the tax and allow the association discuss with its members.

However, the government rejected the appeal and has started enforcing payment of the levy.

On Monday morning, there were long lines of people stranded or trekking along roads in the metropolis.

The head of the traffic agency, Baffa Babba-Dan’agundi, said the state government consulted the tricycle owners’ associations before announcing the levy.

The official told Freedom Radio on Monday that the government was not worried by their strike, adding that ”the absence of tricycles on the roads has improve traffic flow”.

Mr Ganduje had at a meeting with the associations on October 27, 2019 accused the tricycle operators of contributing to insecurity in the state and ”working against his reelection”.

“We have a report that some of the tricyclists are complicit for alleged stealing of children because those nine children earlier stolen in Kano were aided by tricyclists where they conveyed them to motor park before been transported to Anambra State,” Mr Ganduje said.

“That is why we cannot continue like this, every tricyclists most have particulars just like motor vehicles. You cannot be operating freely. We gave you engine oil, tyres and we secure the state for you to operate peacefully from morning to dawn and get money, but you are not grateful.

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“We introduced N100 daily tax but you resisted and said Ganduje will not be reelected,” the governor was quoted as telling the operators at the time.

Ripples

On Monday, the state’s commissioner for Transport and Housing, Mahmoud Muhammed, directed buses of the state transport agency to embark on town service to convey stranded residents to various locations.

The development led to speculations that the government may ban tricycles from operating in the state.

However, Saliu Yakasai, media aide to Mr Ganduje, tweeted on Tuesday that the state will only regulate the operations of the tricycles.

“The Govt had no intention of banning them initially, but with this their move, they’ve opened the eyes of the govt and now it will announce modalities on how they’ll operate going forward, new measures will be introduced, which will lead to their regulation drastically,” Mr Yakassai said in the tweet.

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