A foremost leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia State, has said that the recent passage of the Anti-Open Grazing Law in the State was desirable but cannot be effectively implemented without checking the activities of tricycle (keke) operators who have been known to constitute serious security risk in the state in the past.
The party chieftain who said he does not want his name in print because of the sensitive nature of the issue, said the aims of the new anti-open grazing law would be defeated if the operational time limits for keke operators in the state is not restricted.
“This (anti-open grazing) law was passed only shortly after the operational time limit for keke operators was extended from the initial 6am – 7pm to 6am – 9pm few weeks ago. Tell me, what sense is in that? This is how uncoordinated the Okezie Ikpeazu administration has been. You promulgate a law that bans open grazing but you extend operating time for keke operators some of who are known to have been involved in crime in the past with their keke.
The party leader said his party will look seriously into the details of the anti-open grazing law passed by the State House of Assembly to see what can be done with it when they get to power. “Don’t get me wrong. We are not against the law in itself; we are just wondering why keke operators would be allowed to operate freely while the free movement of herders is curtailed in the State. Security is supposed to be a total package.
“Our thinking as a party is that tricycle operators whose keke have been known to also be used for criminal purposes in the past should also have been affected by such a law. This is the area of concern for our party, and we hope to correct that when we get to power next year.
“We certainly would reverse the time limit for keke operators back to 6am – 7pm as it was before the law on grazing was passed so that Abia would enjoy total security and not one whose implementation will be jeopardized by the free operation of a certain group of people.”
When asked if this would not turn Abians against his party at the 2019 polls, he responded by saying that “Abians know that APGA is an Igbo party and would not do anything against their interest. All we are planning to do is for the overall interest and security of Abians. In every society, security is paramount and the implementation of security policies must not be discriminatory”, he concluded.
Reacting, Mr Adims, a media aide to the governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, said he could not speak on the matter as he was not authorised to do so but said that he was not surprised at the statements credited to the APGA chieftain.
Calls put through to the State’s Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, for his reaction did not go through as at the time of filing this report.