Commercial tricyclists in Damatur, Yobe State capital, embarked staged a protest on Tuesday over the alleged excessive fines imposed on them by the Yobe State Road Traffic Agency (YOROTA).
The operators claimed that their members had been subjected to a high level of harassment by YOROTA personnel, whom they said charged high fines for minor traffic offences and ordered fresh registration by every rider.
Daily Trust gathered that students, commuters, and businesses suffered as tricycle riders expressed their frustration over the situation, demanding government’s intervention.
Some of the protesters, who spoke to Daily Trust in Damaturu, highlighted the unjust treatment they faced and the financial burden imposed on them by YOROTA personnel.
Bukar Adamu, a tricycle rider said, ‘‘They (YOROTA) are charging us exorbitant fines from N5,000 to N20,000 for minor traffic offences; we won’t take it anymore. Last year they created unnecessary charges of around N40,000 or N20,000 and forced us to pay.
‘‘Now they want us to pay another money for stickers and vehicle registration plates. We will not allow any harassment again.’’
Another rider Babagana Mustapha told Daily Trust that ‘‘many operators are finding it difficult to feed their families and these Keke Napep you are seeing are not ours.”
“We pay back daily, some weekly to the owners. So how will there be another issue of sticker and number plates when the price of fuel and food items have increased?
‘‘We are on strike and protesting to say ‘No’ to any fresh registration by every rider so that government and relevant agencies can address the ongoing maltreatment and excessive fines imposed by the Yobe State Road Traffic Agency (YOROTA),’’ he said.
Daily Trust observed that as a result of the strike action, commuters, including students and civil servants have been severely affected, having fmto walk long distances to reach their destinations.
They called on the governor to urgently intervene and provide immediate alternative measures to alleviate the hardships faced by commuters and businesses.
When contacted, Alhaji Umaru Barau, Yobe State Chairman of the Tricycle Riders Association, said the strike was illegal and illegitimate, adding that the leadership of the union had not been contacted by the members before they embarked on the protest.
‘‘This protest is illegal because they (protesters) have not informed the union about their plan to do this protest. They should at least inform us so that we will support them or advise them to desist. It is obvious that some of YOROTA’s policies are affecting us directly and we have made our complaints to the General Manager. But protest is not a solution,’’ he said.
He promised to brief our reporter after an emergency meeting with the stakeholders of the union.
Meanwhile, efforts to contact the YOROTA leadership were unsuccessful, as multiple phone calls went unanswered as of the time of filing this report.
See photos from the protest below: