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Tricycles in Kano; A Blessing or a Curse

The tricycle popularly called Keke Napep, is a three wheeled vehicle that comes in yellow and green colours. It was used to substitute the then commercial motorcycles popularly called Achaba in most of the Northern states of Nigeria.

The many crimes of the motorcyclists which ranged from kidnapping, reckless driving, snatching of ladies handbags and phones, political assassination, the recent Boko Haram activities amongst others, prompted the former Kano State governor, Engineer Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso to ban them from operating in Kano. This ban was issued for security reasons and to also reduce the rate of crime in the state.

Interestingly, these tricycles came at the time when most Kano residents were yearning for a safer substitute to the banned motorcycles (Achaba). This development brought much joy especially to the masses who could not afford to pay the exorbitant fares charged by the taxi drivers.

Shortly after the introduction of the tricycles, our hopes were dashed and our joy soon turned to sorrow. The same tricycles we were jubilating about became another killer in disguise. More atrocities like rape, abduction, killings amongst others were committed on a daily basis by the drivers.

Bashar Tauhid Sidi a student at BUK recounts a bad experience:

“I always disagree with people when they say tricycle accidents are fatal because I love riding in them. This belief of mine ended one Friday evening when my friend and I boarded a tricycle to go buy some food stuffs. On our way back our driver who was on a high speed and was also trying to overtake a vehicle, suddenly ran into a parked lorry opposite our school gate. Luckily, I was the only one that sustained a minor injury. My friend Don Zaki and the Tricyclist ended up at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH)”

Mrs Uchuwa Lawal, a resident of Sabon Gari says, “In March, I boarded a tricycle in front of my house to Kantin Kwari market to buy some wrappers for my younger brother’s wedding. On alighting the tricycle, I paid my fare and left, leaving behind my luggage. Until date am still waiting for my luggage to be returned.”

Mal. Zubairu (38yrs), a resident of Rijiyar Zaki and also a tricyclist, said,

“most of us are good but the bad ones have given us all a bad name. Some can drive well while others can’t. Secondly, most of the younger ones do take drugs before coming out to display their reckless driving skills. Most of them only take the tricycles on rent or hire and will not mind it getting damaged. I will implore anyone that wants to give out his Tricycle for hiring to make sure they give it out to responsible people”

It is obvious that these Tricycles have done us more harm than good. The security operatives should device a means of curbing their activities by either organising seminars that will focus on the rudiments of safe driving or creating a union for them where one can report any case of misconduct by the tricyclists. Also laws should be put in place to regulate their activities.

Also, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Shuaibu Bello, The Commandant Police Mobile Force (PMF) 45, Force Headquarters Abuja, who served as the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at various stations in Kano which includes Nassarawa, Noman’s land, Gwagwarwa, Zaria Road, Sabon Gari among others, said from 2013, Tricycles were introduced in Kano. Till his departure in 2016, he recorded many complaints from victims of Tricyclists operations on a daily basis. While some were cases of accidents, some were cases of theft, abduction, and robbery. He also said though cases of accidents has reduced compared to the era of motorcycles, there is still more to be done by the Road Traffic Agents as many of the Tricyclists lacks driving skills and are ignorant of traffic rules.

The state government should come to the plight of masses by producing state owned buses that will ply the nook and cranny of the state. This will not just reduce the sufferings of the masses but also help in creating a crime free society. A stitch in time saves nine.

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