Bauchi State governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, says his administration spent the sum of N500 million to purchase 1,000 units of tricycles, popularly called Keke NAPEP and vehicles to ease transportation challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The governor revealed this at the inauguration and distribution of the first batch of 345 units of tricycles in Bauchi.
As part of efforts aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19 and preventing insecurity in the state, the Bauchi State government issued an executive order, banning the operation of commercial motorcycles, commonly called ‘Achaba’.
Governor Mohammed said that the Keke NAPEP were purchased to be given out to beneficiaries on hired purchase to ameliorate the sufferings of former motorcycle riders as well as provide an income-generating venture for unemployed youths.
He added that the sum of N250 million was spent on the purchase of the tricycles, while another N250million was also deposited to purchase vehicles to be used for transportation.
“To provide income-generating venture for our people and ameliorate the difficulty in transportation, we are providing 1,000 units of Keke NAPEP and it will be a continuous programme, like a revolving scheme to enable others benefit from the scheme.
“For this project, we deposited N250 million for the purchase of keke NAPEP, and we have also deposited another N250 million in a microfinance bank for the purchase of Sharon and Opel Vectra vehicles to ease transportation in our state,” the governor informed.
He submitted that banning the operation of commercial motorcycles was a painful decision taken by his administration, which he said did not seek to criminalise poverty in the state.
The governor said that the decision was jointly taken by the state government and critical stakeholders.
The ban, according to him, is temporary, adding that motorcycles will be allowed to operate again in some local government areas and villages in the state once there is an end to COVID-19 in the state.
“To be clear, achaba was not banned to criminalize poverty; it was with great pain that we banned achaba temporarily due to health and security reasons.
“The purchase of these Keke NAPEPs is not for profit-making. It is to ameliorate the suffering caused by the ban of achaba.
“We hope that beneficiaries will cooperate with our vision so that it will also benefit others. I hope that the provision of these Keke will create empowerment for our people.
“I thank our traditional rulers, our religious leaders and everyone who helped to make this a reality,” Governor Mohammed said.