KANO — Day to day activities in the ancient city of Kano were on Monday brought to a halt with commuters stranded as tricycle operators embarked on a week strike over levy slammed on them by the state government.
The industrial action that commenced on Monday resulted from a disagreement over what the tricycle operators alleged as excessive extortion by the Kano State Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA).
A tricycle operator who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that they embark on the strike due to the Kano state government’s perceived exploitation through the Kano Road and Traffic Agency (KAROTA).
“We were told to pay the sum of about N 8,000 for renewal of operational permit, and people who default to pay that will be fined heavily when caught. This is aside the money we pay for our daily tickets, which is 130 naira, and now they are requesting that we pay N8,000. We are fed up with the multiple forms of taxation. It is too much, and we don’t subscribe to that,” he said.
Another tricycle operator said, “This is exploitative, they are extorting us too much. How can I make one year registration and be forced to renew it in just two to three months.
“I paid N8,000:00 just about three months ago and now in January they want us to renew it. They say they will place tracker for us but they have not and every day we pay N150:00 tax. This is too much” one of the protesters who begged for anonymity told Vanguard in Kano.
However, the development has exposed commuters to untold hardship as they were left stranded and later found relief in okada operators who seized the opportunity to make brisk business.
Recall that the state government had in 2013 banned use of motorcycle to convey passengers in the state due to insecurity.
The Okada riders however defy the ban and took advantage of the ongoing strike to make huge sales as stranded passengers were seen rushing to board the motorcycle at any cost.
A passenger who spoke to Vanguard in Sabon Gari, Antony said he had to board the okada because he trekked long distance without tricycle.
“I have no choice but to board the motorcycle because I trekked long distance before I got this okada that agreed to carry me here (Burma road in Sabon Gari).
“On a normal day, Keke Napep collect N100 or N150 from me from State road but today due to the situation. I paid N400 to convey myself here,” he said.
Another resident said “I am a health worker and I work in a hospital at Gwale, I live here in Fagge, I have not been able to go to work today because tricyclists are on strike,” a health worker lamented.
Effort to get some of the leaders of the tricycle operators to comment on the development proved abortive as they were not picking their calls.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, the Managing Director, Kano Road Traffic Agency, KAROTA, Baffa Danagundi said no going back as the tricycle operators have to pay the sum of N8,000 for renewal of their operational permit.
According to him, “The strike is about the operational permit which they had to renew for year 2022. Majority of them don’t want to pay for the renewal even though some of them have started doing so. Those who kicked against it did so because they don’t want to respect the law and pay revenue to the state government.
“Well their leadership have disassociated themselves from the strike. They appeal to the govt to slash down the fee in which the govt did by slashing the money from N100,000 to N8,000,” Danagundi however stated.
It was however gathered that some tricycle operators have decided to launch attack on their colleagues who breach the strike action to operate in the state.