Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
Commercial tricycle operators in Abuja, the nation’s capital city have been implored to always shun the use of drugs and obey traffic laws.
This call was made by chairman of the Abuja Tricycle Riders Association (ATRA), Hassan Haske.
Haske who spoke during the Association’s annual general meeting, said the association will leave no stone unturned to sanitising the association and ensuring they are law abiding.
He noted that members of the association are peace loving citizens, and not hooligans as wrongly assumed.
“I consider the people that ride keke as good citizens that take up the business because they do not want to participate in hooliganism.
“They believe riding keke is a good business that helps many other people including the civil servants, oil sellers, spare part dealers and other people in the society,” he stressed.
According to him, most of the people in the business are youth, hence the need for sensitisation on doing the right thing and making something tangible from the business.
“Most of those that are in this business are youth, so we need to call their attentions to how they can be able to put their business in order.
“So, we need to be having a seminar like this so that we can sensitise them, we are trying to partner with other organisations so that they can tell them the need to obey road signs and shun drugs,” he said.
Earlier, while delivering his lecture, the Public Relations Officer of FCT National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency, Peter Adegbe opined that operating a machine under the influence of drugs is dangerous.
According to him, “There is no way machine operations will be possible with the use of drugs, there are so many ills that come with it.
“There is no way you can read road signs appropriately if you are under the influence of drugs, most times what you see are not real.
“They are times a pothole will be near and you will think it is far ahead and you just drive into it.
“The sign says u-turn and you take it for a roundabout and before you know it, you will just hit another vehicle.”
He further explained that there are some drugs are make drivers overconfidence thereby making them to violate speed limits.
“There are some drugs that makes you overconfidence especially the stimulants and in that you over speed, so operating any kind of machine be it carrying gun or driving a vehicle with drugs is not possible.
“It is very common in FCT, but I will not be able to put a number to it but it is very high.
“Some of the drugs are Indian hemp and recently we have been having prescription drugs being abused as well,” he said.
He called for more enlightenment “because so many people don’t get to know this, they don’t even think the drugs are dangerous.
“Those that sell think they are doing normal business, if countries outside Nigeria could give death penalty for the use of drugs then you should know it should not be allowed in the country. Four of ten keke drivers may be using drugs.”
One of the participants, Lawrence Okorie commended the association for the initiative.
He said: “I have learnt many things including obeying road signs and knowing my rights.
“The drug area was good because some of our drivers said they can’t work without taking but we are begging them to stop it.”