The Federal Capital Territory Administration has banned operators of tricycles (known locally as keke drivers) from plying major roads across the Nigerian capital city. The ban took effect on Monday, despite protests by many of the affected tricycle drivers.
The effect is already being felt
Sources close to the situation recounted how the tricycle ban in Abuja made transportation difficult on Tuesday. Many people were seen stranded at bus stops and unable to get to work on time due to the absence of tricycles. Those who did find means of transportation were reportedly forced to pay more.
UPDATE: Residents, this morning lamented the lack of tricycle (Keke) movement in Gwarinpa/Kado/Lifecamp which has made transportation difficult & more expensive for them. Some have resort to trekking.
We’ve not ascertained the reason for this action as at the time of this report pic.twitter.com/z1M6AYzTBb
— ABUJA FACTS (@Abuja_Facts) November 12, 2019
Why this matters
Note that tricycles make up a significant part of Nigeria’s public transportation system. Across different cities and towns, the typically yellow-painted vehicles are seen everywhere transporting human beings at relatively low cost. Many Nigerian families also depend on the tricycle driving business for the sustenance.
Tricycle owners fight back
In the meantime, the tricycle operators have vowed to fight back. On Monday, the National President of the Tricycle Owners Association, Austin Apeh, told journalists that plans were underway to seek redress at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria. They will also be seeking to understand whether the FCT authority’s decision to ban tricycles is backed by legislation.
“The FCTA said they would be banning us from the major routes and restrict us to the estates and villages. The decision is going to throw many people into the job markers because keke business feeds over 40,000 persons in Abuja. We want to be proactive and come out on time because another evil is coming after the same assault 17 years ago.”
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Many Nigerians on Twitter agree with Apeh. Uncle Demola is particularly not happy that the authorities decided to ban tricycle drivers without bothering to provide alternatives. But then again, this is a regular occurrence in Nigeria, especially so in Abuja where the authorities are used to “relocating” people without first providing alternatives for them.
FCT-Abuja with a huge chunk of it's population being civil servants, does not have a proper mass transportation system.
Now goes ahead to ban cheap, and easily accessible means of transportation (Keke) without providing alternatives.
— Uncle Demola (@OmoGbajaBiamila) November 12, 2019
Another Twitter user identified simply as Oyiowoh recounted how he had no choice but to trek a rather long distance under the sun.
So there's no Keke in Abuja roads anymore.
Today, I walked from GTB(Apo Legislative) to Area 3 junction cause of lack of Keke, ubers& taxify were booked. Na now I start to reason my life. Like why I no get car or get boyfriend (wey get car). Being broke and single is painful😭😭
— Oyiowoh (@Anita_Izato) November 12, 2019
Another person pointed out that the decision to ban tricycle in the Federal Capital Territory might likely aggravate crime in the city as people resort alternative means of survival.
Stoping KEKE ride in Abuja will simply help achieve increase in:
1 the rate of crime
2 the rate of sex-for-taxify
3 the unemployment rate
— Rethabile (@pretty_bily) November 12, 2019