A total of 3200 persons, mostly youths, have been given a lifeline in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, as the government introduced 610 recently acquired vehicles for its urban taxi programme.
The 610 new taxiing vehicles comprise 10 new coaster buses, 100 Toyota Corolla cars, and 500 tricycles known as Keke-Napep.
The newly introduced vehicles would result in a total of over 21,000 registered Keke-Napep taxis operating in the state capital.
The use of tricycles as a primary means of intra-city transport came into force in 2012 when the state government placed a ban on the use of motorcycles which was had been regarded as a major source of security threat at the time.
It was on record that Boko Haram gunmen had severally used motorcycles as their escape vehicle whenever they carried out targeted attacks.
Governor Zulum had to enforce another ban on the sales of Keke-Napep to curtail the choking impacts of a large number of tricycles in the city.
During the launching of the new taxi vehicles, the Governor said state-owned Borno Express Transport Corporation would manage the ten buses. At the same time, “the 500 tricycles will be allocated to 2000 operators with each tricycle owned by a group of four unemployed persons.”
“The 100 taxis will also be allocated to 200 persons with each to be owned by two beneficiaries,” he said.
“This is in line with the campaign promises we made to our people that we would do all within our power to see that we take our people out of poverty; because one cannot overemphasise the nexus between poverty and the current insecurity facing our dear state today,” the Governor further added.
The Borno State Commissioner for Transport, Abubakar Tijjani, had given assurances that his ministry would ensure “efficient supervision to ensure functional deployment to routes in line with the goal of the governor which is to increase access to mass transport in the metropolis.
HumAngle gathered that each of the launched taxi cabs had been fitted with security devices that could monitor both its tax remittance and any violations of its limited scope of operation.
Managing Director and Chief Executive of Bexil Computers & Communications, Yusuf Hayatuddeen said, “each of the 500 tricycles has digital stickers from which passengers can use smartphones to access essential data of all operators, and movements of the tricycles will be tracked to ensure each operator only operates within communities they are expected to serve.”
The state government had also shared the sum of N50,000 each to a select “1000 members of different Keke NAPEP operators who did not benefit from the launch given the fact that the associations have thousands of members, some of whom either own tricycles or work as riders and spare-riders.”
“The 1,000 persons were to each receive N50,000 as social support,” Isa Gusau, a Special Adviser to Governor Zulum on Communication and Public Relations.
One of the beneficiaries, Muhammed Adam, an internally displaced person from Gamboru Ngala, said the gesture, a soft loan scheme, “has come to an end my years of joblessness and suffering.”
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