Last Updated On September 17, 2020.

It’s nearly impossible to live in Nigeria without coming across a Keke Napep (also known as Keke Maruwa) at least once.

Keke Maruwa

According to this article from Carmart Automotive, these three-wheeled money spinners were first introduced to the Nigerian market, Lagos precisely, by Buba Maruwa. Hence, the name “Keke Maruwa.”

Later on, they were included in the National Agency for Poverty Eradication Program (NAPEP) under the leadership of Fmr. President Olusegun Obasanjo. And today, the tricycles easily compete with public transit alternatives like Taxi and Danfo.

Riding in a Keke Napep is certainly a great way to get around when commuting short distances.

In Lagos state, these rides were confined to residential areas, markets, suburbs and roads with minimal flow of traffic. However, in February of 2020, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu issued a further ban on operation of tricycles across several local government areas.

If you’re lucky enough to commute in a Keke Napep today, you’ll need to know five things about the popular tricycles before heading out.

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How To Drive Keke Napep | For Prospective Riders

I noticed that I’ve been showing up quite a number of times in the search results for this query, “how to drive Keke Napep.” It’s funny because like I said in my routine, I hardly know anything about SEO or techy stuff.

So, I’ll begin with the basics.

Keke Napeps are auto rickshaws which commonly run on fuel (petrol) combustion engine and while many motorcycle riders may get the hang of riding them fast, here’s a good enough guide for first timers.

– To control the steering of the motorised tricycle, use the handlebar.
– If you look closely, you’ll see some buttons for the horn, head and rear lights, caution lights, and wipers located on the handlebar.
– On the right side of the handlebar, you’ve got the throttle and on the left you’ve got the gear.
– Down below, you have your clutch on the left side.
– To start, put the keys in ignition and pull the Left Hand Lever (depending on design).
– After ignition, move the shifter to first gear on your left side, release the clutch and accelerate by twisting the throttle on your right.
– Adjust gears with speed and remember to use the clutch.

Thanks for reading my mini tutorial.

Now, without further ado, let’s get started with the five things you should know about the popular tricycles.


Similar to Okada (motorcycle) riders, Keke operators choose to be reckless when they feel like.

I’ll be narrating a personal ordeal. Years ago, I was riding in a Keke Napep when a car grazed the side mirror. Our rider, Jekande was eerily provoked by the driver’s action and he decided to give him a hot chase.

We were going so fast on the highway and I was a little scared for my life. To my surprise, Jekande caught up to the car, destroyed the side mirror and zoomed off.

It was like a fast and furious scene.


Let me explain, the Keke Napep is popularly a four-person vehicle. I mean, three passengers sit at the rear and one passenger sits with the rider up front.

Also, the seats are very comfy, they’re made with foam and encased in a nicely knitted leather covering.

Down below, there’s ample space for your legs and you won’t feel squashed as the interior gets airy during rides.

Finally, some tricycles come equipped with speakers for entertainment. Trust me, it’s good relief, at least you won’t be bored or suffer a heat stroke.

Sit back, relax and enjoy your journey as the rider grooves the handlebar and accelerates.


If there’s anything that Keke Napeps are good for it’s manoeuvring through traffic. They combat Lagos traffic congestion with ease and can meander their way through spaces that are narrow for regular vehicles.


“keke is a decent alternative to move within the Lagos neighborhood.” – foreigner

No doubt, Keke Napep is a pocket-sized means to transport people or goods. Huge ride costs incurred from Okada, Taxi or Danfo can be reduced by utilising the tricycles daily.


Because of its portability, the Keke Napep may reach areas inaccessible to Danfo. You will most likely find them in villages, towns, cities and suburbs.

You Should Know…

* When it rains, a protective covering shields you from continuous rainfall. However, you should be aware that motorists may still be able to splash water into the tricycle.

* I think you should avoid sitting at the front whenever you can, it is a bit uncomfortable specifically if you’re big boned, pregnant or elderly.

* If you’re commuting on bad roads, you need to hold the handrails to avoid falling out or hitting metal studs.

* Since most Keke Napep rides are breezy, your clothing shouldn’t be loosely fitted so it’s not all over the place.

* Do not stick your head or any other body part out of the tricycle when in motion.

* Covid-19 Update: Keke Napep (tricycles) in Lagos have been spotted with a transparent and protective shield. According to TVS Nigeria on Twitter, “the Simba Safety Shield is a transparent curtain that evenly divides the back seat from the front seat. It ensures that the passengers sit apart at all times and restricts air flow.”



The Keke Napep is a source of income for many thriving Nigerians and with multiple transport options littered across the country, it may be hard to narrow down your choice.

However, if you’re in a rush, I think these tricycles will get you to your destination fast enough plus they’re way safer than “climbing Okada.”

Have you ridden in a Keke Napep before? What was your experience like? Or is there something I forgot to mention?

You can kindly share with me in the comments.

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  1. Keke Napep.
    Well, it is quite comfortable but if you find yourself on bad roads or highways in Nigeria you could be scared to the bone…
    Nice write Up…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have entered keke many times in Warri, Delta state. It is a nice tricycle faster and more comfortable than okada which we call machine or bike.
    Whenever it rains keke is not safe because it leaks water either through the roof canopy or by the sides. Sometimes, reckless drivers splash water on passengers and with this, I am advising that keke operators should put a door cover to avoid such incident.
    Thank you for reading my comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interestingly, I make it a rule to always be seated at the front seat each time I ride the Keke. I’m uncomfortable with the idea of being trapped between two passengers at the back of the vehicle!
    Great Post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting trenzznet!
      I actually prefer the back seat because they’re times the driver is too fat or he doesn’t create enough space.
      Asides this, sitting at the front makes you prone to splashes during rainy season plus you may have to hold the handle each time you hit a pothole.
      Where I stay, elderly women are given the privilege of sitting at the front, even if you’re settled you may have to return to the back seat.
      I always try to avoid the inconvenience so I dread that seat except it’s my last option.


      1. My pleasure.
        I don’t think an elderly woman would consider sitting at the front seat of a Keke a privilege, though. It’s not the safest, or most convenient place to sit.


  4. Hey! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Superb blog and wonderful style and design.


  5. In as much as the ban on Motorcycle aka Okada was painful, the heartbreak for Keke was greater. Because it’s comfortable, you don’t have to deal with the sweaty bodies around you, plus they are quite faster in traffic. Although a bit rough but not as rough as the bikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You basically spoke my mind, I’m still quite bothered by the governor’s action to ban Keke. Like, I’ve hardly read a report of accidents caused by these wonderful tricycles.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lara!


  6. These are very popular throughout Asia. In Cambodia they are called tuk tuks. Lots of parallels with your observations: A source of income for locals. An Affordable means of transport, plenty of reckless driving. Don’t know how it’s possible to fit three people in the back, but… Necessity is the mother of all inventions😉 In Asia, apart from the electric ones, they still drive older versions with bicycle pedals. Especially in smaller towns.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! I’ve seen those ones with the pedals Leighton and my mind always thinks of how stressful it must be for the riders. Tuk-Tuk? Thanks for mentioning the parallels between our Keke Napep over here. 😁

      I always like the rides because of how breezy they are and trust me, it’s actually less risky than commercial motorcycles.

      Liked by 1 person

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