The use of branded, regulated commercial taxis as means of intra-city transportation has totally gone into extinction in the northern part of the country, Arewa PUNCH reports.
Our findings showed that from Nasarawa to Sokoto, Niger, Benue, Kogi, Gombe, Kebbi, Taraba, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara states – all are without branded taxis in their intra-city transportation architecture – a new development which was not the case in the early 1990s in the region.
Arewa PUNCH investigations further revealed that until this recent development, taxis were adorned with the distinct colours showcasing the pride and heritage of the respective states.
For instance, Kaduna, being the regional headquarters of the then old northern region, had its taxi branded in the deep green and yellow colours while the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, cabbies are painted green with white stripes by the side.
Our correspondents who monitored the development across the region, observed that commercial buses, unbranded taxis otherwise known as kabukabu, tricycles or Keke napep, as fondly referred to by commuters have all taken the place of the branded taxis which were common in the past.
However, not a few commuters who spoke with Arewa PUNCH lamented the situation, pointing out that the advent of unbranded taxis has brought untold hardship on commuters.
A resident of Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, who simply identified himself as Mallam Abdul Salami told our correspondent that he had stopped patronising unpainted public transportation system in the state for fear of either being robbed or kidnapped by unknown persons.
He said, “at a time like this when issues of insecurity, including kidnapping and banditry are on the increase, the government is supposed to look towards this direction to ensure that criminals do not take advantage of our poor transport system in the state to carryout their negative agenda.”
Salami appealed to the state government to collaborate with the transport unions in order to ensure that all commercial vehicles are painted in a particular colour for the safety of all residents and other commuters.
Another resident, Owogeka Thomas, disclosed to Arewa PUNCH that it was her first visit to Nasarawa State from the Southern part of the country and was therefore surprise that the entire state did not boast of functional government regulated and monitored branded taxis.
“Lafia is the capital of Nasarawa State, but there are no taxis to move around the city. Even the tricycles that are available are not painted, So, how will residents be sure that the operators of the tricycles are registered by the government?” she queried.
Thus, she called on the state government to act swiftly on the matter in order to boost the confidence of residents and commuters who ply the roads across the state on a daily basis.
There were no comments from the Nasarawa State Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport, Mu’azu Gosho who was contacted for his reactions over the issue.
Gosho had simply told our correspondent that he was headed for a meeting.
In Kaduna State, “kabubu” or unbranded taxi and okada, otherwise known as “Keke napep” have taken the centre stage, as branded taxis have since gone into extinction in the crocodile city.
The unpainted taxis, we gathered have brought untold tales to residents and other travellers across the state due to the nefarious activities of the pockets of “one chance” gang who are always on the prowl.
Although a very few of these branded taxis still ply the Independence Road through to Kawo and Mando areas of the state.
Only recently, Ms. Lola Seriki, publisher of Tracereporter, an online newspaper, was robbed of her telephone by the gang along the Sabin Tash- Gonin-Gora
Also, in Sokoto State, the use of branded taxis is said to have gone for good.
Mr Samuel Jackson, a Federal Civil Servant in the state while narrating his experience imformed our correspondent, “It was all fun then as most of the drivers who engaged in driving of these taxi, popularly called Taxi Driver then were mostly from the Southern part of the country and they were very dedicated to their job.
“Honestly, that period can not be compared with what is happening now. Youths of nowadays only know about motorcycles and tricycles as means of transportation within the town.”