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Why Imo people prefer tricycles to taxis

The introduction of tricycles popularly known as Keke NAPEP in Owerri capital city as an alternative means of transport did not come to the people…

The introduction of tricycles popularly known as Keke NAPEP in Owerri capital city as an alternative means of transport did not come to the people of the state by surprise. The idea was to phase out the issue of commercial motorcycling business (popularly called Okada) in the city completely. Already before then, some states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, had started implementing the policy.

The essence was not in any way targeted at subjecting the people to untold hardship. Neither was it meant to drag backwards, the motorcycle operators who had taken profession as a means of livelihood. The purpose was purely to save lives of innocent citizens of the state in the hands of Okada operators owing to their recklessness.

The Okada operators, before now, were observed to have contributed to the larger percentage of accidents that occurred in the city on a daily basis on the roads. During the era of Okada operators in the state, 85% of road accidents recorded were due to the recklessness of Okada operators. A lot of people were sent to an untimely death while majority were injured perpetually. No day went by without a record of accident in the state resulting from the recklessness of the operators.

All the hospitals in the city were full of patients whose legs, hands or the entire body were broken and destroyed. Those whose legs were broken were hanged up for a number of days before they could recover. They spent a good number of days and months to be healed before going back to their homes. 

The motorcycle operators in the city then were used as an easy means of robbing innocent persons in the state. Some of the bandits saw it as the fastest way through which they can perfect their dastardly acts and get away from it without being apprehended in the process. That could be demonstrated in the Otokoto saga where some Okada operators were converted to be part of the business. Some of the operators themselves even used their motorcycles to engage in snatching people bags.     

Today, with the introduction of the tricycles in the city to take place of motorcycles operators, the story has changed for the better. Tricycles have taken over the transport sector in the state to the extent that all commuters today prefer to board tricycles to even taxi or buses because of its convenience. Tricycles compete with taxis and buses in almost all the routes. Majority of commuters who did not see tricycles to go to work would rather wait till he or she sees one, else he or she would continue to wait for one. 

With the introduction of tricycles in the city by the state government, Imo people have become relieved of their burden economically, socially and otherwise. Instead of the measure affecting people especially at the early stage, it has now turned to be a cherished idea by all Imo people. Those who disengaged themselves from motorcycle business have since pitched tent with the tricycle business in the city instead of going back to the villages to start from square one again.

The presence of tricycles in Owerri today has made transportation from one street to the other an easy movement. The tricycles are all over in all roads in the city, picking passengers from their base to their various destinations without fear of accidents.

Since its introduction the state has never recorded a good number of serious accidents involving tricycles and vehicles except minor incidents. Passengers resort to taking tricycles to a drop for longer distances, while some have procured it as their private means.

Ministries have converted some of them as their official car for dispatching of mails from one ministry to another including government. Some people arranged with operators to be conveying their children to school on a daily basis. As it stands now, the number of tricycles operating in the state cannot be compared with the number in any state that has tricycles as a means of transportation. The cost for each drop since its official launch has remained between N30 and N40.

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