With the ban on the operations of commercial motorcyclists, otherwise known as okada drivers, the expectation was that the traffic space would witness sanity, while the number of accidents caused by their recklessness would be reduced. But how wrong these expectations have proved to be. Indeed, it has turned out that we have moved from one problem to another.
After the ban on the operations of okada drivers in the cities of Awka and Onitsha, most, if not all former operators of okada, graduated to tricycle or keke drivers. These keke are found all over the traffic space in the state and their activities have left much to be desired. It seemed that those who graduated to keke business took their bad behavior while as okada drivers along with them to their present one.
Whereas okada was used to rob people and make quick getaways, keke drivers are also using their vehicles to rob people and often throw them out after robbing them. Just as shuttle bus drivers do, keke drivers also hypnotize victims and take them to isolated points where they perform rituals on them.
But apart from these, every part of road junctions where these keke drivers operate has been turned into emergency loading parks. Not just that, they do so in the middle of the road and no matter how much one shouts at them to make space, they will not budge till they finish loading or offloading passengers.
Often while blocking the road, accidents have occurred as other vehicles crash into them, killing the passengers and the drivers in the process.
In cases where the agents of the state government try to check their activities during the day by clearing them off the road, the drivers return in full force in the late evening after the government agents have gone. It is at this time that the real chaos is witnessed and this often leads to traffic jams.
In the capital city of Awka where, ordinarily, one would expect to have a better deal, these keke drivers have constituted themselves into a real menace. Even in daytime, such junctions in Awka as Aroma and Unizik Temporary Site, can be described as living hells.
It even seems as though no government agency cares to check their activities as the keke drivers do their thing right before these agents. This has prompted many to wonder if money has not exchanged hands such as to make those agents to look their other way. This is just too bad.
We therefore call on the authorities saddled with the task of monitoring the activities of these to be alive to their responsibilities and restore sanity to the streets and roads where these chaos take place.
Adequate security plans should also be made to ensure that keke drivers who commit crimes with their vehicles are nabbed. This can be done by working in concert with the keke union to properly identify genuine members and make it a lot easier for the criminally minded among them to be fished out.
As crime usually shoots up during the weeks preceding the Christmas, it is especially important that measures are taken to curb the activities of the bad elements among the keke drivers, as well as prevent accidents.
Government owes it a duty to spare the citizens the menace of these drivers.