Kano commuters resort to trekking as tricycle operators begin strike

NEWS DIGEST – Thousands of commuters within Kano Metropolis have become stranded, following the commencement of a warning strike by commercial tricycle operators today (Monday) in the state.

Daily Nigerian reports that the tricycle operators had begun the strike action to protest the imposition of N100 daily levy by the Kano State Government through the Kano Road Transport Authority, KAROTA.

It was unusual Monday in the ancient city of Kano as many commuters said the boycott by the tricycle operators, popularly known as ‘Adaidaita Sahu’, has inflicted hardship on them.

The newspaper observed that the usual vigour and ‘busy-body’ in many workers and students every Monday morning along major roads across the city has been replaced by gloomy looks.

Also, the chaotic nature of the tricycles has vanished in the second most populous city in the country as only private cars, motorcycles and trucks were seen plying the roads, just as some other helpless commuters resorted to trekking.

Commuters lament untold hardship

Speaking with some of the stranded commuters, a secondary school teacher who identified herself as Suwaiba said the strike action caught her unawares, calling on the state government and the striking operators to embrace dialogue.

“I am a teacher of a secondary school. I didn’t know the strike would take place, only for me to spend over an hour here waiting for a vehicle to transport me to my place of work,” said Ms Suwaiba.

“I don’t think I can make it to the school today because the first period has already gone. I’m not happy about this development.

“I call on the government and the tricycle operators to resolve this matter amicably as it will affect many areas of development, especially education and economy,” she added.

At Darmanawa area in Tarauni Local Government, many tricycles were seen packed by the side of the roads as students and other commuters were also seen trekking to their respective destinations.

On the other hand, a handful of the aggrieved tricycle operators were seen at the Darmanawa area staging a demonstration.

Numbering about 50, the operators, mostly in their 30s, were seen carrying clubs and tree branches, threatening to beat up any KAROTA officer they see on their way.

A Darmanawa resident, Aisha Aliyu, said her husband had taken her children to the school in his car, fearing that he might not have the chance to come back from the office and pick them up from the school.

She said: “If it happens that my husband could not return from office and pick them up, I will have no choice but to trek and pick them. They are two and young.

“I fear the situation could cause price hike of commodities. I beg the government to resolve this problem as a matter of urgency,” Mrs Aliyu appealed.

A female student, Hauwa Adamu, said she had to trek about three kilometres from Ja’in area in Gwale Local Government to her school, Kano Girls Day Science School at Kofar Nassarawa.

“I suffered a lot. I have never trekked this distance in my life. I had to miss 2 lecture periods. Thank God our school management is aware of the situation, we would have been punished,” she said.

No going back on new levy – KAROTA

Reacting to the issue, the KAROTA Managing Director, Baffa Dan’agundi, said there is no going back in the new tax regime.

Speaking to Freedom Radio FM, Kano on Monday, Mr Dan’agundi disclosed that when the tricycle operators rejected the manual process of the tax collection, the government decided to introduce the online payment system through REMITA.

“But, even this online payment has now received stiff resistance from them [tricycle operators] but let me tell them that no going on this. We are acting on a law that was amended in 2017.

“It is not arbitrary; it was based on the Law. If they don’t pay the tax, how do we construct and repair the roads they are plying on?

“Let me tell them that the government is not worried about their strike. At least, it has made Kano roads quiet. I know they cannot withstand this strike.

“This strike is temporary. I know they cannot stay at home for a period of one month. I dare them to stay at home for a month without shelving the strike,” he said.

Police deployed to foil any breakdown of law and order – CP

Our correspondent also observed that police personnel had been stationed at strategic places across the city to foil any possible breakdown of law and order.

Reacting to the development, the newly deployed Commissioner of Police in the state, Samaila Shuaibu-Dikko, stressed that the deployment became necessary, adding that intelligence report has it that hoodlums are planning to hijack the protest.