October 24, 2013.
By: M.G Maigamo
“I want to assure the people of Kaduna State that the Law banning operations of commercial motorcycles was not conceived to bring hardship, rather it was aimed at improving security as well as the overall wellbeing both commuters and operators of commercial motorcycles”
(The speech of Governor Ramalan on the occasion of distribution of tricycles-9th June, 2014)
Tuesday, 21st of October, was exactly five months with the ban of commercial motorcycles in Kaduna State; and any time a policy is introduced, it is customary to assess the impact of that policy after it has been implemented either quarterly, biannually or even annually.
Assessing a policy after its implementation is necessary because it gives the policy makers a clue on the efficacy of the policy, its impacts on the subject matter (that is people in this case) and the extent to which it has given a desired-result or otherwise. The net result would be whether or not to review the said policy or to abolish it completely. It can be abolished if government finds out that the policy doesn’t produce a desired-effect. It can also be reviewed and adjusted so as to conform to the current realities and needs base on the popular responses in respect of it.
Five months is somewhat a belated assessment, though especially a policy of this nature which at the point of implementation and enforcement had generated public uproar, because commercial motorcycles had been a popular means of transportation among the populace which means banning it would be like crippling the cripples already. One would think that heaven would let loose when the governor signed that bill into law because of complaints from public.
Even though as an individual, it’s not my place to assess this policy, but as a public commentator, I consider it highly imperative to evaluate it and to see if whether it has yielded impact from the day it has been implemented to date or not. Or more properly to compare between tricycles and motorcycles in terms of efficiency, safety and comfort.
Not only for that reason, but for the fact that I was engaged in a heated debates with many people in the state when the bill for the ban came into effect; me for, while many against. (Check my article titled Achaba Ban: “In Defense of Ramalan Yero”).
Now if I am to evaluate this policy, I will do so as someone who do not have any means of mobility other than the achaba itself, and who works in the extreme end of Kaduna, where you will hardly see achaba riders even before the ban. Which means my appraisal of the impact of achaba ban in Kaduna will be without prejudice because I am also a victim of the ban more than many people considering the fact that commercial motorcycle otherwise known achaba was my major source of transportation within the city of Kaduna. Therefore the discourse here will be not only a statement- of- facts, but the one that represents the general and true realities.
Let me starts from the government angle: First, when the Governor officially announced the ban of achaba in Kaduna, which came into effect on the 21st of May 2014, there was an overwhelming public outcries about the said policy and public moods was so charged with a cacophonies of voices. Many people, especially most of us that depended on commercial motorcycles for a day to-day running, we felt that the policy would kill a common man.
The major complains were that of alternative means of transportation to the people because most people do not even knew then that the governor had already pre-empted the likely problems that will arise from the ban by ordering the supply of Keke-Napeps Tricycles to be distributed as a part of palliative measures.
At the beginning, he ordered the distributions of 1000 Tricycles across the state and more also continue to flush in. One must admits that the Governor acted well on this because as I am writing this piece now the state is replete with Keke-Napep Tricycles, as everywhere you enter in the state you will see many tricycles shuttling even where we do not use to see Achaba before the ban.
In fact, from the first month of the ban, Keke-Napep already suffuses major parts of the state. Today even in your door steps you will see Keke-Napep waiting to pick you and all the complaints of yesterdays; today is a different story entirely because the governor has fulfilled his promise of providing an alternative means of transportation in the state. This has really justified the governor’s statement which I quoted above. But above all what are these impacts that we, the people of the state derive or deriving from the ban and from the use of Keke –Napep now in place of former motorcycles?
One, apart from it being sufficiently everywhere now we, the commuters who mostly depended on Achaba before have now come to realize the many health and cost benefits of using Keke-Napep; and safety most of all. Before the ban of achaba in the state, not a day would passed by that you do not come across a tragic scene of accident involving achaba riders, also not a day would go by that you will not hear a crime case aided or abated by achaba riders. The rates of accidents and crimes in the state was spirally high that disturbed everybody in the state. The state even became a safe haven for criminals who were mostly Achaba riders.
It will be highly disturbing to any responsible government in this regard, as it behoove on it to protect both the lives and properties of its citizen. This was what informed the Achaba ban policy in the state. And with the new tricycle, it will be very difficult or almost impossible for the users to commit crime of any form with the tricycle because the new system is highly organized and they are all coordinated. Each tricycle is registered with number and each rider must be registered and obtain identification card. It is a wonderful arrangement that even if a passenger forgets his luggage inside the tricycle will know the station to go to retrieve it.
Two, even the former achaba riders who transmuted to Keke-Napep riders now have come to realize the comforts and safety of using Keke-napep. Before, both the achaba riders and we, their passengers used to be subjected to all forms of airborne hazards which ranges from catarrh, eyes inflammation, fever, and worst of all accident. But now, both passengers and the tricycle riders move comfortably and with minimal or no risk, so also with less cost.
Now the achaba phenomenon is gone and there is a new lease of life, as we, the commuters in the state are well-adapted and have found out that there is a greater benefit both health wise and cost wise in using tricycle and there it was in using Achaba.
Above all, I think the women-commuters in the state owed His Excellency a debt of gratitude because this ban is more beneficial to them than it is to men. Regardless of being Christians or Muslims, Achaba has been an aberrant to the sanctity of our wives and mothers who uses achaba as a means of transportation.
The use of achaba had only breeds what we know as Frotteurism among the riders. For your own information readers, Frotteurism is an act of touching woman’s body for sexual pleasure or rubbing up parts of one’s cloths or body against woman’s to drive satisfaction without her knowledge.
It’s a rare case of paraphilia which we’ve often seen in the markets or in any roadside shows when people (men and women) normally gather to catch a glimpse, a man with such disgusted and beastly attitude would intrude and stand besides or behind an unsuspecting woman or girl as if he too is watching, while he is rubbing up his body or his genital in her body for sexual pleasure.
Time without number some men (frotteurs) were caught in the bend down markets rubbing up their genitals against the buttocks of non-consenting women.
Having being forced by the circumstances to use Achaba as means of local transport, our mothers and wives had to always exposed their thighs when riding commercial motorcycles and had to rub up their bodies and their breasts against the back of the riders- mostly unintentionally though. That had consciously or unconsciously bred Frotteurs or a sort of coincidence; because already some of Achaba men are already frotteurs so engaging in Achaba only manifested their latent habits. That is why whenever they carried women, they are fond of pressuring their brakes to as to force the women to inadvertently draw their breasts to their backs.
It is indeed a gratifying that such a detestable act has stop by banning the uses of commercial motorcycles in the state.
Mukhtar Garba Maigamo,
Unity Bank Plc,
Inuwa Abdulkadir Road Branch,
Mobile: +234 806679299, 0806679299
Email: [email protected]