They are fed up with being victims of extortion, and want a change.

Tricycle, popularly known as Keke Napep, operators in Umuahia marched to the Abia State House of Assembly asking the legislature to prevail on the state’s task force agency, TIMAAS, and Umuahia North local government council to stop truncating its activities by harassing its members over branding of their vehicles.

Leader of the tricycle operators, Comrade Samuel Ukah, demanded that relevant agencies should give them till December to paint their tricycles to conform with the local government colour as well as reduce the price for the branding.

“The State Government said we should paint Abia colour and they started with Umuahia North, the notice was short, we were not given time to prepare for this, the times are hard, we are begging the government to reduce the price for us in the interest of the suffering masses. We cannot afford nine thousand naira now or they should allow us to go and paint the tricycle by ourselves.”

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Ukah also called on the relevant agencies of government to map out appropriate bus stops for loading and offloading of passengers.

“In other cities, government designates bus stops but in this town there is no designated bus stop, TIMAS should tell us where to pack and load passengers.  We are working to make a living like every other Nigerian, but we are constantly being harassed by one agency of the government or the other.”

Addressing the protesters, speaker of the Abia House of Assembly, represented by the clerk of the house, Sir John-Pedro Irokansi, who called the Umuahia Council boss in their presence, directed that all activities connected with the tricycle operators should be suspended immediately.

The speaker also noted that the leadership of the house would meet with relevant agencies to harmonise every interest so as to maintain the peace in the state.

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