One of the mainstream means of commuting in Kano city is the use of motorised tricycle, the rickshaw, locally known as, “Adaidaita Sahu”. This is understandable since the large chunk of the population doesn’t own private vehicles, and there’s no organized public transport system seen elsewhere.
This is why the truce reached between the State Government and the tricycle association, leading to the suspension of strike embarked upon by the members. No doubt, allowing it to linger would have devastating impacts for not only the tricycle riders but also for many other people in the state. The tricycle “industry” is an unacknowledged contributor to the economy of the state.
Averagely in Kano, a family has at least one businessman whose trading transactions are carried out in a market. The customers of these traders have to be transported to the market to purchase whatever good is being sold there. With the absence of tricycles on the roads, many small businesses would surely be badly hit as a large number of customers are getting disconnected from the markets.
Again, the disappearance of the tricycles on the roads is a threat to healthcare. The lives of many sick persons that urgently need to be taken to hospitals for assistance could be at huge risk. Many people with serious health challenges may lose their lives as a result of this. Pregnant women who are in labor especially would be put in serious jeopardy.
Similarly, the matter has a serious security implication for the state. We have seen recently how some hooligans already started vandalizing the Kano state internal revenue service building. I am afraid if the tricycle riders are left with no jobs, many of them would in one way or the other indulge in criminality when push comes to shove. We can all see how kidnap for ransom is spreading like a wildfire in the northwestern part of the country.
With their back on the wall, these riders could see this sphere as an area to exploit. God forbid! We cannot afford to see an increase in the number of kidnappers already besetting our region.
While the Kano State Government is harping about traffic congestion caused by the large number of tricycles on the streets and also considering slashing the number operating in the state and thus introducing mass transit buses, I have my reservation on seeing this as problem-solving.
The mass transit buses model would take time for normal operation in Kano, even if the government gets it right.
Yet considering the narrowness of our roads and also lack of designated bus stops, Kano state will again face another type of traffic congestion, not with tricycles this time, but with huge buses, it’s planning to deploy on the roads.
Yakubu writes from Abuja