The Bayelsa State Government has debunked rumours making the rounds that it was planning to ban the operation of tricycles, popularly known as Keke, in Yenagoa, the state capital and its environs.
In a statement issued by his media aide, Mr. Doubara Atasi on Thursday, the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said government had no plan whatsoever to stop Keke from operating in Yenagoa.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo clarified that the recent meeting which government held with the various transport unions and the tricycle operators was mainly intended to brief them on security measures being taken to checkmate crimes being committed with tricycles.
He further explained that part of the security measures include the registration of all Keke owners and riders with proper data capturing.
According to the Deputy Governor, the new arrangement would provide every registered Keke in the state with a special security identification number that will make for easy tracking both at night and in the day time.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, however, urged the public to contribute towards fighting crime and be wary of mischievous people who engage themselves in malicious disinformation in order to paint government in bad light.
He said the Prosperity Administration was conscious of the economic implications of an outright ban on keke, as it would result in loss of jobs, unemployment and economic hardship for thousands of people and their families.
His words, “The Bayelsa State Government is not banning Keke. People should not misrepresent what we said the other day when we met with their unions.
“We are very much aware that placing a ban on Keke will cause a lot of hardship on both the owners/ riders and the citizens. For the owners and riders, their means of livelihood will be snuffed out of them, while the citizens will have difficulty in mobility.
“Government has only said that we want to re-register them to make sure that the data of both owners and riders are well captured and that they will all be given special security identification numbers.
“So that their numbers and passports will be available to government. With this arrangement, once any Keke is alleged to have been used for crime, it will be easy for the security people track and get it.
“We also want the public to do their part by watching out for the special security number of the Keke and raise alarm when it is used in committing crime. You don’t leave everything for government to do.”
The Deputy Governor reiterated that government’s recent policy on Keke operations in Yenagoa is mainly intended to curb the rising spate of criminal activities being carried out with tricycles, and should not be misconstrued by anyone as a ban.
He, therefore, called on members of the public, especially Keke owners and riders to discountenance the wrong information being peddled.