The recent ban on tricycle, popularly called keke Napep by the FCT administration on major roads and routes within the metropolis have 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 resolving to use tricycle, it is now a possibility that the available alternative have now been thwarted. Recently the FCT administration announced the ban of tricycles just like it did the ban of okada on all major routes in Abuja.
While some have described the governments move as a move in the right direction, others have continued to cry out over the ban on tricycles.Though it is generally accepted that the advantages of the tricycle as a means of transportation in Abuja can never be overemphasized,especially 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.
Neverless, 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 the porous structure of the keke and this informs the total ban on all routes in Abuja.
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 known as keke Napep in Nigeria could be attributed to its inherent advantages of door to door services, manonverability during traffic congestions,ability to travel on poor roads and ease of responsiveness to demands.
In this way, much of academic energy have been dissipated by transport geographers on the traffic relevance of the tricycle since the ban in Abuja by the sentiment whippers against the ban without really looking at the advantages of the general ban. However,it is germain to note that,the mutually related essence of transport and employment that led to the popularity of the tricycle in most cities in Nigeria is fast extending to multidimensional problems of economy, politics and social malaise.
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 aimed 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 governments critical discovery from this survey on the tricycle business in Abuja shows that about 61percent of respondents agreed that they are engaged in this keke Napep 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.
The general predictions in the government study shows that by the next decade,the productive economy might have declined to a ridiculous extent as employment generation,technical education and self reliant growth jobs would have been trapped by keke Napep economy and no government worth its onion would allow this to fester.
Again, the study alluded to the fact that keke Napep unions are becoming second arm of political parties,forming strong pressure influences and 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 rates of accidents and kidnappings with the use of tricycles on our roads. To correct these anomalies and secure a sociopolitical and economic future for the Abuja city as a developing one,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 behavior 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.