Written by Ere-ebi AGEDAH, Laraba Murey

Keke ‘ban’ increased our suffering, says Abuja residents

A recent policy by the Transport Secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, which restricted tricycles from plying certain routes in Abuja, has negatively affected some residents who spoke to Laraba MUREY and Ere-Ebi AGEDAH. They insist that the absence of a viable alternative from government before the ban was making life difficult for the poor who reside in this axis. Excerpts:

 

JENNIFER NWACHUKWU: A lot of us are not happy with this ban. Other highly populated cities like Lagos still allow tricycles to operate freely. So why the ban in Abuja? Why does the government hate poor people?

Abuja is mostly populated and serviced by poor people. How do we expect them to get around without Keke, especially on this single Apo road that was abandoned by all taxi drivers? Every policy government throws up seems to tell poor people to get out of the way. Same poor people you gave your stickers during election. They want to turn Nigeria into America overnight by banning Keke in Abuja.

Now they have added more people to the jobless category. I think they should have proffered solutions like bringing in more taxis before the ban so that people will not suffer much. The situation is terrible! In the meantime, I don't think it’s a very wise move.

As annoying as keke riders can be especially to other road users, keke was the leg of many people. Both the riders and passengers are not finding this situation easy at all. The situation needs to be readdressed.

 

PRINCE AGBEDE: What’s the exact story behind the ban of tricycles in Abuja? Is it a ban by the government? You can’t just ban such a large-scale commercial life without providing an alternative solution for both the tricycles and Abuja residents who depend on them.

This keke ban has not been good for some persons. Whenever I drive out I see a lot of people standing by the roadside for hours. Some have to trek long distance. It is not everyone that has a car. Some of us who have do not like to drive all the time. Our authorities were not thoughtful. They do not know the plight of the common man and make rules that are so malicious without any apology.

 

 

 

As much as Keke drivers have been a cause for concern, you can’t stop a source of income and transportation without putting something else in place. That will cause unemployment and crime to go up.

In civilized countries before you ban anything you must make sure there's alternative. For example the Toronto public transportation was going on strike 15 years ago, government provided something for commuters to commute to their different destinations we as Nigerians need to grow up.

My problem with our government is that they are not always proactive. Wat our population requires is mass transit buses.

 

KELVIN OLUZIE: The ban on this nuisance was the best news I received.

You might think my reaction is insensitive but wait till you drive with these people on the road. I had to leave my house before 6:30 every day to avoid them and save myself from frustration and high blood pressure. There was a time we were doing well without Keke. Taxi drivers still exist. Okada riders in unrestricted places will serve for now.

I am one of the happiest persons on earth. Keke drivers drove me crazy. I actually prefer they bring back bikes than this bunch of lawless people. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Recently I stopped my car for a young lady to cross the road,Keke also stopped and the rider changed his mind midway. He tried to maneuver a bad portion of the road to get through and knocked the young girl flat on the ground.

I moved off the road and parked to find the girl unconscious only for the Keke driver to say it’s her destiny. Thank God there were bystanders there. I could have burnt him down. How do you knock someone down with blood gushing from her head and ears and think it’s her destiny and not your stupidity? Perhaps you think I speak from a place of privilege, I don’t. The menace these guys cause far outweighs the benefit they offer, in my opinion.

 

 

ABUBAKAR MOHAMMED: They haven't done justice to the poor or to the person seeking for livelihood. If you can remember, it was first motorcycle ban then came tricycle ban. Now with the ban, nothing has been put in place for us to fall back to for our livelihood.

Sincerely, this can lead someone into drug addiction and make him to take up arms to destroy people or join political thuggery. Many graduates that couldn't get employment are using this tricycle to feed themselves and their families. Now, what do they want them to do? Even some students are training themselves with money they get as drivers. We call on the government to look into the suffering of the common man and make provisions for us.

 

CHRISTY BARNABAS: It’s really difficult getting a taxi that will take us to our locations. It was easy when the tricycles were here. Now you stand on the road for long. Now, the taxi drivers have increased the fare by 150%. They charge as they wish. No regulations. They can even decide not to carry anyone. This causes time wasting before you get to the office.

Another issue is that there is no defined bus stop in the FCT. For instance, a passenger might come to a supposed bus stop thinking the taxi is going to his direction but the taxi driver change his mind if there are few passengers going to that route, making it difficult for commuters to get taxis. It is really sad.

I am not complaining about the removal of tricycle but the failure of making alternatives available for Nigerians to have ease of transportation.

 

OLAYEMI SAMUEL: As for me, I use to reach my destination early to supply newspapers. But it’s no longer easy. A journey of 30 minutes is now more than an hour.

This situation is only affecting the masses. The rich people always find a way to reach their destinations. The government should please bring more buses or cars that can reach the nooks and crannies of the communities like the tricycle used to do.

 

 

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