The recent ban on tricycle, popularly called Keke Napep, by the FCT administration on major roads and routes within the metropolis has been greeted with divergent views by residents of the territory.
While the Abuja residents are trying and adjusting to get used to the ban and absence of motorcyclists popularly called Okada on major roads and resorting to use of tricyles, it is now a possibility that the available alternative has been thwarted. Though it is generally accepted that the advantages of the tricycle as a means of transportation in Abuja can never be overemphasised; the flexibility of the device to move around narrow places and routes that regular buses cannot dare are some of the reasons people prefer the tricycles.
Secondly, it is accepted that the Keke Napep is cheaper as a means of transportation to other available ones that the government is recommending as alternatives to the tricycles now that it is banned.
Nevertheless, it is also opined that the rampant robbery incidents accustomed to the tricycle transportation in Abuja, makes the ban inevitable and a major reason why the ban should be accepted by all. Robbery is very easy to carry out in tricycles as severally reported in the metropolis due to its porous structure.
Though it is regrettable that people used their life savings to purchase the tricycles and the role the tricycle business has played as a source of employment to many and its vital role in the ease and access to transportation, people should support the governments explanation that it cannot guarantee the safety and security of Abuja residents if the Keke is not banned.
The ministerial task force on free flow of traffic joined forces with the directorate of road traffic services to enforce the ban on tricycles operating on all major routes in Abuja on a sensitisation campaign, as it would restore sanity and help in the fight against traffic gridlock in Abuja and needs to be supported.
It is accepted that the general burgeoning growth in the commercial tricycle business also in Nigeria could be attributed to its inherent advantages of door to door services, manoeuvrability during traffic congestion, ability to travel on bad roads and ease of responsiveness to demands.
In this way, much of academic energy has been dissipated by transport geographers on the traffic relevance of the tricycle since the ban in Abuja.
It is relevant that the cynics of this ban should study carefully the economic, political and social factors that are overshadowing the mobility relevance of the tricycle as a business transport in Abuja metropolis. Their study should also aim at articulating the future lessons for a developing city like Abuja and join the Abuja authorities in evolving a well acceptable policy option before criticizing the government for the ban. The Abuja authorities used a probabilistic sampling method with random techniques to pick respondents from many residents of the city and the majority views led to the ban on the operations of the tricycle in Abuja.
The government’s critical discovery from this survey on the tricycle business in Abuja shows that about 61per cent of respondents agreed that they are engaged in this Keke business having abandoned their trades as artisans, not because of the prospects of a buoyant economy but because daily income is sure and certain. This is dangerous for a developing economy like ours in Nigeria from all predications.
Again, the study alluded to the fact that Keke Napep unions are becoming second arms of political parties, forming strong pressure influences and stated groups which can be influenced by politicians for motivated political gains. They could also in turn, disrupt societal peace if dumped after use. On social hazards, the study confirms an increasing rate of accidents and kidnappings with the use of tricycles on our roads. To correct these anomalies and secure a socio-political and economic future for Abuja city, there is the urgent need to lift the city from this disaster waiting to happen and the impending shrunk of productive economy, attain a better height of political behaviour and rescue something out of the present downward slope of our social ethics, the government acted by this ban.
The government acted in good faith and residents must be seen supporting the authorities as the ban is the best option.