The Federal Capital Territory Administration has banned operators of tricycles (known locally as keke drivers) from plying major roads across the Nigerian capital city. The ban took effect on Monday, despite protests by many of the affected tricycle drivers.
The effect is already being felt
Sources close to the situation recounted how the tricycle ban in Abuja made transportation difficult on Tuesday. Many people were seen stranded at bus stops and unable to get to work on time due to the absence of tricycles. Those who did find means of transportation were reportedly forced to pay more.
Why this matters
Note that tricycles make up a significant part of Nigeria’s public transportation system. Across different cities and towns, the typically yellow-painted vehicles are seen everywhere transporting human beings at relatively low cost. Many Nigerian families also depend on the tricycle driving business for the sustenance.
Tricycle owners fight back
In the meantime, the tricycle operators have vowed to fight back. On Monday, the National President of the Tricycle Owners Association, Austin Apeh, told journalists that plans were underway to seek redress at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria. They will also be seeking to understand whether the FCT authority’s decision to ban tricycles is backed by legislation.
“The FCTA said they would be banning us from the major routes and restrict us to the estates and villages. The decision is going to throw many people into the job markers because keke business feeds over 40,000 persons in Abuja. We want to be proactive and come out on time because another evil is coming after the same assault 17 years ago.”
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Many Nigerians on Twitter agree with Apeh. Uncle Demola is particularly not happy that the authorities decided to ban tricycle drivers without bothering to provide alternatives. But then again, this is a regular occurrence in Nigeria, especially so in Abuja where the authorities are used to “relocating” people without first providing alternatives for them.
FCT-Abuja with a huge chunk of it's population being civil servants, does not have a proper mass transportation system.
Now goes ahead to ban cheap, and easily accessible means of transportation (Keke) without providing alternatives.
— Uncle Demola (@OmoGbajaBiamila) November 12, 2019
Another Twitter user identified simply as Oyiowoh recounted how he had no choice but to trek a rather long distance under the sun.
So there's no Keke in Abuja roads anymore.
Today, I walked from GTB(Apo Legislative) to Area 3 junction cause of lack of Keke, ubers& taxify were booked. Na now I start to reason my life. Like why I no get car or get boyfriend (wey get car). Being broke and single is painful😭😭
— Oyiowoh (@Anita_Izato) November 12, 2019
Another person pointed out that the decision to ban tricycle in the Federal Capital Territory might likely aggravate crime in the city as people resort alternative means of survival.
Stoping KEKE ride in Abuja will simply help achieve increase in:
1 the rate of crime
2 the rate of sex-for-taxify
3 the unemployment rate
— YOUR PHONE GUY (@fofpro) November 12, 2019
Buhari in crucial meeting with Obasanjo, other former heads of state
President Buhari is presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently presiding over a National Security Council meeting with some former heads of state and some security chiefs.
Although the agenda of the meeting is not made public, issues bothering on the current security situation in the country are believed to top the agenda. This follows the outbreak of violence across the country during the protest against police brutality and extra-judicial killings, which has led to the loss of lives and destruction of public assets and private properties.
According to media reports, the meeting which is coordinated from the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has in virtual attendance General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.), former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), former President Goodluck Jonathan and former head of interim national government, Chief Ernest Shonekan.
Others who are physically present at the council chambers are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd.); Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olanisakin; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu; Director-General, Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi; and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai, among others are attending with the President.
This meeting is coming a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the security situation in the country calling for an end to the #EndSARS protests as their voices have been loudly heard.
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Senatorial, State House of Assembly bye-elections postponed – INEC
Senatorial and State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states have been postponed by INEC.
The 6 Senatorial and 9 State House of Assembly bye-elections slated to hold on October 31 in 11 states of the Federation has been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The vacancies were as a result of death and resignation of previous members.
According to the statement issued by its National Commissioner & Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye Esq., INEC said the decision was taken after meeting with the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on Thursday.
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) October 22, 2020
Though the commission did not categorically state the reason for the postponement, feelers are that it may not be unconnected with the raging #EndSARS protests across the nation.
Some Nigerians mistook promptness of FG response as sign of weakness – Buhari
President Buhari has said that FG’s promptness to consent to the demands of the protesters was taken as a sign of weakness.
President Muhammadu Buhari has pointed out that the promptness with which the Federal Government acted in meeting the demands of the #EndSARS protesters seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
This was disclosed by the president in his national broadcast on Thursday, October 22, 2020, on the current widespread violence which has engulfed the country following the protest against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
The president said that the government listened to the protesters and after evaluating their five-point demands, they were accepted and some of them implemented, which includes the disbandment of SARS.
In his address to Nigerians, President Buhari said, “As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.
“On approving the termination of SARS, I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.
“Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.
The president said the actions of these elements has caused serious violence which has led to the loss of human lives, attack on correctional facilities, destruction and vandalization of public and private properties, attack on the palace of Oba of Lagos, invasion of International Airport and so on.
While acknowledging that the choice to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right of every citizen as enshrined in the constitution, the president pointed out that this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens and the necessity to operate within the law.