Yenagoa — Authorities of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has debunked reports that Tricycle operators popularly known as 'Keke Operators' protested against the Corps in Bayelsa State, saying the protest embarked upon last week was due to dispute between the State government and the tricycle operators over alleged annual fee for Renewal of Ministry of Transport Numbering.
A newspaper report (not LEADERSHIP) had claimed that the protest embarked upon by Tricyclists in Yenagoa, the Bayless state capital was due to alleged cases of continued extortion by men of the State Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps.
But the FRSC Sector Commander, Mr Ikechukwu Igwe, in statement yesterday in Yenagoa, dismissed the report as" malicious, unfounded and very cheap"
Sector Commander Igwe, who lamented that the report was capable of destroying the hard-earned image of the Corps, wondered why false information would be deliberately spread about the Corps.
"The protest embarked upon by the Keke Riders was done in front of the entrance of the Government House, Yenagoa which solely bordered on Annual Renewal of MOT Numbering. This issue is between the Keke Union and the Ministry of Transport, Bayelsa State. It is however pivotal to note that the protest caused traffic gridlock which the FRSC Bayelsa State Command had to embark on a massive traffic control to ensure free flow of traffic.
Also commenting on the development, the Association for the Protection of Human Rights for Keke Drivers, dismissed reports the claim and insisted that they had no problems with FRSC.
Mr Jonah Okafor,who is the Coordinator of the group, said the protest was against the review upwards of operation renewal fee by the Bayelsa State Ministry of Transport.
According to him it is untrue that the Keke riders protected against extortion by FRSC because there was no reason to embark on any protest against the Corps.
Okafor disassociated the association from reports of protest against the FRSC and appealed to the media not to cause rift between the association and FRSC.
"Our relationship with the FRSC has been very cordial. We recently applauded the free medical services rendered to our members by the FRSC Command in Yenagoa. We are holding regular rallies and meetings where we settle problems. The Sector Commander made his official telephone number available to all our members to report any issue that can generate misunderstanding".
Meanwhile the Bayelsa State Government has ordered the FRSC and the Nigeria Police to clamp down on Keke Operators that flouts the directive for operations in the state.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Ere Efeke which approved N1200 as annual revalidation fee to be paid for security numbering gave 17 June 2019 deadline for payment.
The statement directed the FRSC and the Police to arrest those who have flouted the directive to remove all protective metals attached to their tricycle.