The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) and the Keke Operators Positive Initiative (KOPI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to engage tricycle operators across the country in peace building campaign.
Dr Bakut Bakut, Ag. Director General of IPCR and Mr Hassan Shettima, National President of KOPI, signed the MoU on behalf of the two organisations on Tuesday in Abuja.
KOPI is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) geared towards the well-being and common interest of tricycle operators popularly called “Keke NAPEP” in the country.
According to the IPCR DG, the collaboration will to take advantage of the growing network of the tricycle operators across the country to further spread the message of peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
He noted that the large number of ordinary Nigerians cutting across different backgrounds in the tricycle transport subsector was a veritable tool to be harnessed in spreading the peace message.
“In our efforts at building a peaceful society for all, we have decided to use the national spread of the Keke operators in the campaign for peace.
“This collaboration that is formally taking place between the institute and KOPI we enable us to positively engage the teeming members of the association as agents of peace.
“Every operator meets and relates with different people on daily basis, therefore they have the ability to build and maintain peace,” he said.
Mr Hassan Shettima, the National President of KOPI said that it was necessary to engage the tricycle operators in peace building initiatives since they relate with people on daily basis.
According to him, the numbers of tricycle operators and commuters are increasing across cities and there is need to build peace consciousness in them.
“For instance, tricycles constitute about one-third of commercial transportation in many parts of Abuja and it is growing to become the largest sector in terms of job creation.
“If you succeed in removing them from any conflict that could bridge the peace, it will go a long way in building peace in our communities.
“The transport sector is a sensitive sector that requires peace and we can use them to champion the peace campaign,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Peter Opara, Head of the Directorate of Internal Conflict Prevention and Resolution, said the MoU would be implemented progressively by first training the tricycle operators in batches.
He said that “We want to change the popular perception that Keke riders are violent and that is why we shall expose them to peace building training and then make them peace marshals.
“We shall give them peace advocacy items to post on their machines, which will showcase them as peace builder,” he said.
Mr Istifanus Gacha, the Secretary General of KOPI however urged Nigerians especially commuters to respect and show understanding to tricycle operators as citizens in lawful means of livelihood.
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