BY MIKE EFFIONG
In a country where millions are groaning under the effect of high level unemployment, Miss Fadekemi Adeniji , a single mother of two children, has carved a niche for herself by becoming a rider of ‘Keke NAPEP’, a job mainly dominated by men.
Adeniji narrated how she found herself in this profession, in an interview with Vanguard. “It is the current situation of the country that got me into this. I was into fashion designing, but my shop was demolished following a directive by the Lagos state government that all shops situated in that area should be pulled down to pay way for road construction. There was need for me to keep body and soul together, to survive. I did not to want to take to prostitution nor become a liability to others, I decided to take up this tricycle business,” she said.
On the challenges she encounters on the job, “they are numerous,” she said, noting that one of such is is the over-bearing attitude of local council officials. “They are not helping matters, they disturb a lot. You have to pay for this and that, in some cases, you are not allowed to work every day.
As a woman, I expected to be given some considerations, but this not the case. Secondly, ticketing officials are not left out, they collect N1,050 (One thousand and fifty naira) each day which is not supposed to be so and; thirdly, these officials treat me as if I am a man, they don’t have any respect for me.”
According to Adeniji, she has been in the business for about two years, and in spite of the challenges, she does not have any regret. Apart from harassment by the police and Agberos, she called on the state government to urgently do something about the menace of area boysat various bus stops and parks across the state.
Adeniji said that the new Lagos Traffic Law is a welcome development, but noted however that the menace of Agberosat bus stops is still continuing, despite the provision in the law that prohibits them from being sighted at bus stops. She said that the law should be enforced so that this menace can be eradicated at the various parks and bus terminals across the state, while also calling on relevant agencies to embark on enlightenment and awareness campaigns to sanitize the people. She however commended the state governor for the bold steps taken thus far.
Speaking on her average daily income from the Keke NAPEP business, she declared she goes home with N1,ooo, after all necessary expenses, depending on the market situations – volume of passenger.
She said that her relationship with passengers is very cordial, adding that most times, passengers gave her extra money. Adeniji however asserted that she would never wish for any of her children to take after her in the tricycle business
She advised that the youths can make themselves useful by taking up this kind of business, rather than allow themselves to be used by politicians as thugs before and during election period, and dumped thereafter. Adeniji further noted that engaging in handwork will ultimately pay dividends for the youths because they can always fall back on such when white collar jobs are not available. She said that government should create or open acquisition centres for the teeming youths in the country where they can go and acquire one skill or the other.
According to her, growing up as a child was not very pleasant as she lost her father at a very tender age and had to live with an aunty, adding that she only managed to undergo primary and secondary education.