smallIntent to cushion the recent restriction placed on the operations of tricycle riders in the Federal Capital, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through The Abuja Enterprise Agency (AEA) has introduced a new taxi scheme “keke Palliative Taxi Scheme” for former tricycle owners. The Honorable Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has facilitated the acquisition of 33 Nissan Saloon vehicles for commercial taxi operations in Abuja.

Bello explained that 20 of the beneficiaries drawn mainly from the Keke riders’ unions, were trained by the AEA and profiled for access to finance which facilitated the acquisition of the vehicles which they would use in conducting their trade. The Minister further noted that a private sector company, MTI Taxi Limited also provided 13 vehicles for the scheme in collaboration with the AEA.

The FCT Minister who was represented at the flag-off ceremony by his Chief of Staff, Bashir Mai Bornu, said the beneficiaries of the scheme had been made to undergo adequate drive test as well as profiled for access to finance. The Minister urged the beneficiaries to deploy the taxis in areas where tricycles have been restricted to cushion the effects.

He therefore commended the Abuja Enterprise Agency for facilitating the introduction of the palliative scheme, even as he praised the leadership of the Keke operators’ unions for collaborating with the FCTA to ensure the success of the scheme.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Abuja Enterprise Agency, Arabi Muhammad Tukur said the agency trained 20 individuals selected by the Confederation of Tricycle Motor Operators Association (CONFACTRIMO) in the FCT, on modules covering entrepreneurship to develop their business acumen, as well as provided a driver instruction class to test the proficiency of the drivers.

 “it marks the beginning of sustainable poverty eradication steps, insecurity reduction and ease of movement by commuters,” he said.

The MD further noted that the beneficiaries of the scheme have been given four years to make full payment for the vehicles, after which they will become eventual owners, he urged to be innovative, be creative and lead with integrity. And be the business leaders of tomorrow by inculcating the 3 tips to become successful entrepreneur.

He also disclosed that all the vehicles for the scheme have been marked, commercially registered and placed on tracking systems to eliminate any security concerns that passengers might have. Vehicles are all commercial registered and given comprehensive insurance cover.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the Treasurer, Keke NAPEP FCT, Sanusi Usman thanked God for the privilege to upgrade from Keke Napep riders to taxi owners, through the efforts of the FCT Minister.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

He said, “When this incident happened to us and we were restricted from our areas of operation, we were disturbed and we were not happy actually. But by the grace of God, by having this opportunity, we are now very happy and we are praying for this very Minister, we are praying that Almighty God help us bless this Minister and Nigeria in general.”

Other dignitaries who were present during the flag-off ceremony include Acting Secretary of FCT Transport Secretary, Mrs. Alice Achu, the Director, FCT Directorate of Transportation Services (DRTS), Alhaji Wadata Bodinga, Chairman, FCT Task Team on Traffic Decongestion, Mr. Ikharo Attah, Chairman, MTI Taxi Limited, Taiwo Oyerinde, among others all congratulated  the beneficiaries.

By: Halima Farouk