Celebrating Safe and Happy.
I was on my way from Douglas to Nekede in a Keke (tricycle) when the passenger in front began to converse with the driver.
The man in question claimed that he was new in the town of Owerri, that he was coming from Niger republic and he needed help to find his way around town. “I needed to change some dollars”, he said.
In no time, the driver tried convincing me into our helping the stranger locate where he was going as well as my co-passenger seated at the back as I was. They began to talk to me in a native Owerri dialect. “If we help this man, you don’t know what may come out of it”, they tried convincing me.
I was so stern no to be swayed by their all of a sudden Samaritan attitude. I pointed it clear to them that my location wasn’t to tour the town of Owerri to locate God knows where and I needed to head to my destination without delay.
Our argument got to a point that I noticed that the Keke driver increased his pace, sped faster than normal. It was at this juncture that I had to raise my voice and I noticed our supposed route changed. But, it wasn’t going to hinder the driver with his decision.
On seeing the security operatives ahead, he quickly pulled over and I disembarked from the Keke.
That was how I was rescued from a kidnap or whatever the devilish scheme must have been.
This was Amaka accounting her ordeal to me within the small town of Owerri.
Guess what my reaction to this story was like?
“Are you for real?”
“How many years ago did this event take place?”
“Years? What I told you barely happened two months ago.”
“You must be kidding me”, I said.
“Things like this still happen?”
Well, I bet a lot would be shocked as I was that schemes as such are still rampant and happening right in our nose. I would be using Owerri the capital of Imo state Nigeria as a case study. But the tips while boarding that transit apply to a whole lot of places this Christmas season and beyond.
The present day government in Imo state led by His Excellency Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha had recently banned fully the use of tricycle on major routes and streets in Owerri metropolis. Owerri was densely populated with the heavy presence of Keke, that one wonders if every individual in the state had one and running on the road.
This ban was substituted with the introduction of TAXIMO and IMO BLACK CAB respectively.
The full implementation of this ban took effect barely 2 months ago. But then, the transport system is not fully effective to take care of the teaming masses that needed to be in where they need to as at when they need to be. Today and now in Owerri, everyone is pulling out their private vehicles to serve for commercial purpose without full legislative control over how is been done.
Like every profession takes SAFETY to be its pivotal approach, we do love and care for you, that is why we would be leaving some safety tips with you, while you travel to and from this Christmas period.
There is a popular Igbo adage which says, “He who asks questions never misses his direction”. I think this moment is right for you to ask questions before boarding a cab.
Asks questions like; if he is going to your direction, the cost of going to your locations, why is there no official tag to indicate being a registered commercial driver? Why is he going for an alternative route? Etc, as reasonable and necessary the question should be, do well to ask.
Call for personal service
This may sound a bit luxurious and expensive, but the cost incurred to repair damages is quite much when compared to maintenance. Handle yourself with care and avoid any sort of damage.
It mustn’t be an Uber cab or a famous transport company, you can as well identify with locally known drivers to be at your service while you need them, instead of running the risk of commercial vehicle tussles.
This is preferable if you are not familiar with where you are going.
Do not board a cab alone while drunk or sick
Often times, the best way to go home while heavily drunk is to be driven by another.
But not when a stranger who knows no jack about your destination.
Your condition could make you sleep off and you move farther than necessary or you may wakeup in an unplanned area.
If you are under an influence of any sort, do well to go with a trusted fellow while flanking down the next public vehicle.
Where are you going exactly?
Yea, this is Christmas and a whole lot would be happening at different places at the same time. But are those events for you? Where you invited? Must you go?
If the answers are NO, then why go on unnecessary field trips.
A lot would be visiting or coming back home they haven’t visited in a long while and definitely, places most have looked so different from what it used to be.
Do well to get a definitive description of where you want to go before leaving or make sure that places you visit are necessary and where you know the terrains well, if there is none available to take you to your desired destination.
Go with someone that knows the way:
If you are lucky enough to get a tour guide, better. To save you from announcing your visit to the wrong ears.
He/she must have understood how the town works.
Avoid showing off expensive items:
In as much as to read those mails from the tablets, or reply those WhatsApp message on your smart phones is very necessary. Avoid putting on or flaunting expensive items while boarding commercial vehicles, because, there would always be bees around the honey and smoke with the flames.
Don’t make yourself vulnerable to hoodlums and end up fighting with someone for your property or forcefully loosing it.
You could always have your time to use them while you are in a much more conducive environment.
Avoid operating a phone or a device while in a public cab/bus:
Your phone or other devices may be your companion, especially in a bus where you know no one. But don’t get too engrossed with it that your fail to observe your environment.
Sometimes, I see people who do not hear what is discussed around them because they have stucked their ears with earpiece.
This season, be watchful and be vigilant so as to avoid the risk of theft or other things that may be associated with this act.
Take note of any vehicle you board:
Before you decide to enter that vehicle, be very observant. Look at the person(s) inside, look at the vehicle plate number (is it commercial or private), look at the driver.
Where is he picking you up from, is it same with where regular cabs do?
Here, I would suggest a personal thorough security check in few seconds. Please, if the vehicle does not really suit you, do not enter. It better to be late than late, they say.
The credit of this excellent piece is given to Ikechukwu Dozie Ethelbert
Merry Christmas and Happy New in Advance.