Friday, April 24, 2009

Fun on 3 wheels


This is Hafeez, the keke driver who brought me back yesterday from Alausa, where I've been spending a lot of time trying to get meetings with various government and court officials.

The keke is a beautiful thing. Its a 3-wheel scooter taxi that fits three passengers, four in a pinch. It has all the advantages of the okada motorcyle taxi (manueverabilty in traffic, good ventilation) without the blood-curdling fear that an okada ride often entails. And it costs just a few naira more than a danfo (minibus taxi) ride, where you are crammed in with 20 other sweaty passengers, at least one of whom invariably gets in an argument with the "conductor" over the conductor's inability to make change.

Who invented this little machine? The keke is actuallly a recent import from India, part of a Nigerian government program of "poverty alleviation" that started in 2002. I'm not sure how giving away a few thousand scooters is going to alleviate poverty, but I do recommend taking a keke whenever possible in Nigeria.

As for Hafeez, he was the nicest guy ever. When he dropped me off, he refused to take any money for the fare. But I insisted. Giving free rides to Americans is no way out of poverty, Hafeez. But thanks anyway.


  1. i think they would work pretty well in new york too!

  2. ps: can i still reach you at your urbanjustice email?

  3. Indeed, Chip. If they are safe enough for the NYPD to do traffic enforcement with, they are safe enough for me.

    Hit me up at seaninnigeria at gmail - great to hear from you or anyone else!

  4. Should be fun to ride one of those. I like in the picture that the outfit matchs with the vehicule ;-)