How Women Transport Workers Cope with the Job

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CEM REPORT | The today Nigerian economy has drifted much such that jobs and vocation peculiar to the male gender have seen women flood them all in a bid to make ends meet.

The transportation industry is one known to be dominated by the male folk but women have fought through and gained stand in the industry.

While many bare the opinion that these women in the transport business find it easy, a recent study by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) bares a different argument.

The study was carried out amongst female motorist driving commercial tricycle (Keke) and mini bus (koroke) in Lagos.

The study reveals that operating Keke in Lagos for women is a very tedious task due to the activities of touts in the motor parks.

NAN in an interview with Blessing Mbachu, a  Keke operator and widow with five children, said the daily challenges faced as female motorist could be daunting.

“Most women in this line of business are strong due to the challenging nature of the profession. I tell you it’s not easy, this is how I raise my five children since my husband’s death.

“These touts (Agbero) don’t make the job easy for us, they must collect their money, that’s not negotiable, the only time they can be nice is when they allow you load even when it’s not your turn.

“I was selling foodstuffs before, but people will buy on credit and by the time they pay back, the value of that money and the purchasing power has dropped, and you’re back to square one.

“I started riding this keke three months ago, it’s not mine, I deliver N3,000 daily; I can’t go for higher purchase, that’s N1.7 million, how do I pay back, I’ve so much debt that I’m trying to offset,” she said.

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In the last three months she had been ferrying passengers between Cele and Ikotun.

Ireti Sorinmade, who drives a mini bus, told NAN that her male colleagues make it easy for her in spite of their ego as men.

“Often times I have had to jump the line, my colleagues understand that driving is not easy talk less of driving in the crazy traffic of Lagos.

“To me Agberos are human beings too, so I’m always polite although there are some stubborn ones too, they disturb some of us, but we try to get by.

“I can’t afford to own this mini bus so I’d kept saving, even though it’s tough as a single mom, but I strongly believe this job will help me achieve my goals, I can’t steal and I can’t sell my body,” she said.

Victor Akinsulere, a tricycle driver, advised women in the same business to ensure they stayed safe by closing early.

“I applaud their courage because as a man I know it’s not easy. I know the temptation to stay out late in order to make more money is high; resist the temptation to drive late in the night.

“I personally don’t like to get into argument with them, because I understand the frustration, I salute their courage; usually touts are nicer to them, but they don’t exclude them from paying,” he said.

Seun Tiamiyu, a park collector (agbero) told NAN that women in transportation business were usually given preference and respected.

“They are our mothers, we respect them, but there are rules that we won’t bend because they are women; if we begin to do that men will feel cheated too.

“When I’m on duty, I collect money once from them, not on every trip, I know for a woman to drive in this our area it takes guts and obviously lots of responsibilities,”

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