Last Updated On July 20, 2020.
It’s nearly impossible to live in Nigeria without coming across a Keke Napep (also known as Keke Maruwa) at least once.
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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Without further ado, let’s get started.
#1 RIDERS MAY BE RECKLESS
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, Lateef caught up to the car, destroyed the side mirror and zoomed off.
It was like a fast and furious scene.
#2 COMFORTABLE RIDES
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.
#3 BEST CHOICE FOR LAGOS TRAFFIC
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.
#4 AFFORDABLE MEANS OF TRAVEL
“keke is a decent alternative to move within the Lagos neighborhood.” – foreigner
#5 ACCESS TO REMOTE AREAS
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.