Enugu State Government on Sunday urged commercial tricycle operators, popularly known as Keke Napep, to continue to adhere to COVID-19 Protocols to ensure health safety of their passengers.
The state’s Commissioner for Transport, Chief Matthias Ekweremadu, gave the advice in Enugu while inaugurating the newly-elected executive members of Association of Tricycle Riders Transport Union (ATRTU), Enugu State Chapter.
Ekweremadu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Mr Ogbonna Idike, said that the union members were critical stakeholders in the government’s fight against the pandemic in the state.
“The spread and impact of COVID-19 is still taking its toll on the state, Nigeria and the world; we must abide and enforce the COVID-19 Containment Protocols with all seriousness and obedience it deserves.
“The government directive of 50 per cent passengers, compulsory wearing of face mask by all occupants of your tricycles and hand sanitizing/washing devices should be intensified,’’ he said.
The commissioner urged them to impress it on their members to get rider’s biometric registration and permit to ensure harmony with the ministry.
On the newly elected executive, Ekweremadu called on them to maintain peace and harmony within the union as well as be in total obedience to the state government rules and guidelines.
“I must commend the union for a peaceful and hitch-free election. The peace and unity I see among you today must be stepped down to your various branches and units as well as your relationship with the ministry,’’ he added.
Speaking, Chief Emeka Madu, Chairman, House Committee on Capital Territory in Enugu State House of Assembly, lauded Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for creating an enabling environment for the riders in the state.
Madu, who is also a patron of ATRTU, also applauded the electoral committee for organizing a hitch-free election as well as ATRTU members for the overwhelming support to state government policies and programmes.
Chief Victor Onyia, a patron of ATRTU, called on those elected into the executive to continue on the foot step of peace and progress of the union.
“There is more benefit if a union continue to stand as one both collectively and for individuals,’’ Onyia said.
In his acceptance speech after the swearing-in and inauguration, the newly re-elected state Chairman of ATRTU, Mr Benjamin Ikah, assured commercial tricycle operators of the protection of their rights.
“My executive will ensure that none of our members will suffer injustice; while we will continue to work harmoniously with the ministry and state government.
“I am also appealing to the state government to extend the working hours of commercial tricycle operator to at least an hour more in the evening,’’ he appealed.
In the election, Ikah defeated Comrade Uchenna Chikezie by 43 – 16 votes; with two invalid votes from a 61-member-delegate from branches of ATRTU in the state.
Other members elected unopposed included; Mr Augutine Ubaka – Vice Chairman; Mr Pius Ezugwu – Secretary; Mr Charles Odo – Assistant Secretary and Mr Linus Ogbu – Treasurer.
The rest are; Mr Ernest Udeh – Financial Secretary; Kingsley Ezugwu – Publicity Secretary; Mr Yusuf Abubakar – Provost 1 and Mr Samuel Okeke – Provost 2.