Anambra Keke Operators Cry Out over Increased Oppression, Extortion by Touts
Commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Keke operators, plying Anambra roads have continued to lament the inability of the Chukwuma Soludo administration, to keep its promise of dealing with the touts that continue to harass them on Anambra roads.
TNC investigations revealed that the latest development now is that when touts are picked up, the heads of the Keke transport units in the areas are targeted for attacks and threatened.
There is also the allegation that the touts known as agberos are working with government officials, as information on the whistleblowing keke operators, eventually get leaked to the touts.
A keke operator, who confided in our correspondent, revealed how he was threatened by one of the touts for reporting him to the government.
According to him, the tout also known as ‘agbero’ who was recently picked up by a government enforcement team, had been released and is back on the streets, dishing out threats and boasting of his connections.
“We are now at a loss as to what to do. We don’t know who to trust again.
“It is quite appalling that after we had a meeting with government and they asked us to volunteer information on the activities of these touts and we complied, they will go behind and give these touts information about us.
“We therefore do not know whether the government is serious about eradicating these touts or they are just making empty promises.
“We thought the state government was serious about this thing but from what is happening, we don’t just know what to believe again,” he regretted.
Another keke unit leader, said they need the backing of security operatives if they must continue to leak information on the activities of the touts to the government, due to the threats on their lives.
According to him, he has not been able to come home to his family since the past one month because of incessant threats from the touts he reported to the government.
“It appears the government does not know what it is up against.
“These agberos are dare-devil criminals and can go any lengthy, even to kill, to protect their unlawful venture. To think that the same government we are working with to eradicate touting is the one also feeding the touts with our information is so bad.
“We therefore request that government shows genuine commitment to this fight by giving us security men to go and warn these touts threatening us that should anything happen to any of us or our families, they will be held responsible.
“I guess that way, they will know that they can’t harm us,” he said.
Meanwhile, an operator along Onitsha-Owerri road, Chinedu Umo has disclosed that the situation as regards touts on the road is even worse now than before Governor Soludo promised to remove them.
TNC correspondent can however confirm the arrests of some touts following a joint operation of security forces which commenced late last week.
Governor Soludo had last month met with the keke operators where he urged them to support his administration by paying their taxes, vowing to eliminate touting on the roads, which the operators say is their major problems.
Information gathered, showed that a reasonable number out of the population of the operators are already complying with the tax appeal but the government is yet to make good its promise to deal with touts.