By Shaibatu Inuwa – KANO
Amidst Nigeria’s ongoing economic crisis, tricycle operators in Kano state, locally referred to as “Yan Adaidaita Sahu,” are confronting a daunting reality.
The crippling effect of escalating fuel prices, coupled with the ever-increasing cost of living, has significantly impacted these hardworking individuals, leading to a decline in patronage and posing severe challenges to their businesses and overall livelihoods.
In this exclusive report, Daily News 24 reports on the struggles faced by Keke Napep operators as they strive to maintain a delicate balance between their enterprises and the adversities experienced by both riders and commuters during these trying times.
Frustration Rises Amongst Tricycle Operators
The tricycle operators across Kano State have voiced their growing frustration as they witness a considerable deterioration in passenger patronage and fare bargaining during the economic crisis, worsened by the recent fuel price increase. This has led to a reduction in people using tricycles as their mode of transport due to economic hardships.
While speaking With Daily News 24, one of the tricycle operators, Aliyu Haruna, shared his concerns, saying, “We can only say innallilah wa’inna ilaihir raji’un. To begin with, petrol is now expensive, and even we tricycle riders are not enjoying our work.
“Back then, during the tenure of former President Muhammad Buhari, the highest purchase you could make on fuel to cover all your running expenses was at least N3000. But now, for you to work for a longer period, you need to buy fuel of N5000 or N6000. How much will you make on that day, and how much will you keep for the tricycle than the owners of the tricycle (balance)?”
Challenges In the Decline Of Passengers
Aliyu Haruna also pointed out the lack of patronage from commuters as a major challenge their businesses are experiencing in this hard time because people now tend to limit their movements using commercial vehicles, which Keke Napep is not exceptional as the money circulating was not like before and also the price of fares increased.
“The passengers, too, have no money. Back then, under President Muhammad Buhari, If there was an increase from our side, we increased the price of the fare to passengers, and there was compliance. Unlike now, once you tell passengers the fare, they will just jump on us because funds are not circulating. Right now, the heat is too much on us; we will continue to ask God for mercy and ease.”
Trapped in a Cycle of Economic Uncertainty
Aminu Miko Tarada, another tricycle operator, lamented the magnitude of the escalating situation as he said their fuel consumption skyrocketed by over 200% compared to the previous Administration of Muhammad Buhari, which he said made life miserable for him as he found it difficult to make higher purchasing balances and get something out of his daily earnings that could cater for his daily necessities.
“With the increase in the high cost of living and the current price of Premium Motor Spirit, our operations have gone way down. People don’t have money in their hands, and the cost of living is high. We should continue seeking forgiveness from our relatives and also commit these to prayer because the current high cost of living is outrageous.
“Before the increase of the PMS, everything was moving smoothly, but right now you will buy fuel of N5,000 for commuting activities, You will hardly make N10,000 in all.” Tarada moaned.
As fuel prices surge, the burden is not limited to tricycle operators alone. Commuters who rely on these affordable and convenient rides are also feeling the pinch. Many passengers are now opting for alternative means of transportation, which, in turn, exacerbates the challenges faced by tricycle operators.
One passenger, who asked for anonymity, lamented the situation.
“To be truthful, my movements have been restricted because of the fare hike. I have back down on going out. It’s really rare for me not to go out within a month, but because of the cost of living now, I can be at home for two months or more without going out. If the need to go out arises, it will only be a visit to my parent’s house. In cases of weddings or naming ceremonies amongst my family and friends, I prefer to recharge my cell phone and then call them instead of physically attending. Because it’s way easier.” she confessed
Our members endangered by losing their jobs. The Tricycle Operators chairman speaks
The chairman of the Tricycle Riders Association Hauren Wanki chapter, Nuhu Baba Sa’a expressed his considerations as about 100 of their members are threatened with losing their jobs because they owe a company balance that they failed to balance due to the embedded economic hardships that their members found themselves in.
“To be frank with you, the current high cost of living has affected our operations. We have never seen anything hit tricycle riders so badly as the current realities we are in. Even today, I have just come back from a settlement between some tricycles about 100 of them that were seized by one company.
“There’s a boy that came to me, he owes the company N150,000; he is among the people whose tricycle was seized. I went and had a meeting with the company, I told them the boy’s tricycle couldn’t be seized. We promised to remit N150,000 to the company with respect to the boys.”
Similarly, Baba Sa’a advised the company to exercise patience as he learned that the company was planning to seize all their tricycles from the riders to sell them off as a result of the downfall of weekly remittance from the riders, saying this trial time is not going to be endless.
“There are a lot of bikes impounded at the company. The company is saying they are going to sell all the tricycles as a result of the decline in weekly remittances by the riders. From my part, the advice I gave the company is to be patient enough and go along with the current situation. If anyone should remit even half of the expected money, they should accept and draft down a record form. To serve as a track until people can pay it off. We are praying; we believe things are going to get better because we are not going to continue going like this.”
Baba Sa’a furthermore called on the new Managing Director, Kano Road Traffic Agency (KAROTA), Engr. Faisal Mahmud Kabir, to maintain the strategy and payment of the daily tax of N120 they paid during the immediate past administration of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje because they heard the rumours that the current MD KAROTA was planning to increase the daily tax to N200, saying anything beyond N120 they would rebel and this might cause serious problems to the government as the government was aware of the contributions they had offered that changed the previous government.
This is an independent investigation carried out by the Daily News 24 team. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without proper attribution to Daily News 24, generally including the author’s name, a link to the publication, and a line of acknowledgement.