As a result of the influx of female commercial drivers in Lagos, the Grassroot People and Gender Development Centre (GRADE) has called on the State Government to establish secure spaces for women in the transportation sector.
The non-governmental organisation attributes the proliferation of “female keke drivers” in Lagos to high unemployment rates, pervasive poverty, and economic hardship.
In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, the Executive Director of GRADE, Vivian Emesowum said the transport sector is experiencing a huge overhaul with the influx of ‘Keke’ and the minibus (korope) as the most common means of movement.
Ms Emesowum also emphasised the need for intensified media coverage of female commercial drivers and their adversities, particularly amidst economic challenges.
“The influx of women in transportation is coming at a time the economy is biting hard on major households in Nigeria and women are finding it very difficult to support their families in some financial obligations in the home,” she said.
“After the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted by the federal government in 2020, more women stormed Lagos roads as commercial drivers and riders of tricycles, thereby populating the once male-dominated job.”
Ms Emesowum said as part of its Women’s Voice and Leadership Project, GRADE in partnership with ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) had a one-day skill and capacity-building workshop on road safety laws, offences and fines.
She said the participants include 20 female public transport drivers in Alimosho and Ojo area of Lagos State.
She said the project was funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) under the Strategic Opportunity Fund (SOF) to promote safe space and decent work for female public transport drivers in Lagos State.
Ms Emesowum explained that the project is aimed at tackling the barriers to gender equality and supporting the empowerment of women and girls through the provision of technical and financial resources to local women’s rights organisations and their networks.
In his remarks, a director from the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), Aladesida Olarewaju encouraged the Participants to serve as agents of change in their various locations by educating others on road rules and regulations.
Mr Olarewaju enumerated major offences that can attract fines, urging the ‘keke’ drivers to avoid carrying overload, obey traffic lights, avoid dangerous driving, and think of their safety first and consider other road users.
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