Hard times await tricycle operators popularly known as Keke NAPEP as the Rivers Sate Ministry of Transport says it would commence immediate arrest and prosecution of defaulters following the ban in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Eleme and Oyigbo Local Government Areas of the State.
The decision to enforce the ban came at the heels of the ruling in favour of the State Government in a High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt and presided by Justice Obie Daniel-Kalio in a suit filed by Keke NAPEP Owners and Riders Association of Nigeria against the Rivers State Government in suit No. PHC/2561/2009 over the ban on Keke NAPEP in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Eleme and Oyigbo Local Government Areas.
This was made known in a press statement signed by the press officer to the Commissioner for Transport and made available to The Tide on Monday in Port Harcourt.
According to the statement, Justice Obie Daniel-Kalio ruled that the Rivers State Commissioner for Transport has powers to regulate the operations of tricycles popularly known as Keke NAPEP in the four local government areas where their operations are banned.
The statement further stated that the judge held that a tricycle of the Keke NAPEP type is a motor vehicle since it has an engine and it is used for transportation, therefore argued that the commissioner has powers to make regulations which prohibit or restrain the driving of such vehicle under section 74 (1) (h) of the Rivers State Road Traffic Law No. 6 of 2009.
It would be recalled that 15 months after motor cycles popularly known as ‘Okada’ were banned in the four local government areas of the state by the Rivers State Government, another order banning Keke NAPEP was imposed in April 1, 2010 which brought about mixed feelings from the owners and riders of tricycles in the state. The agitation and fear of loss of business by the association ended up in their seeking redress in court against the state government.