Micra Taxis In Ibadan: Necessity or Menace?
Almost every Nigerian city is synonymous with a slogan or a particular feature that dot its landscape, which has more or less become a mainstay in the city and has always defined it.
Each city has its own distinctive feature and mode of transportation which it is reputed for. Lagos for instance is reputed for its hustle and bustle as well as its yellow and black painted buses also known as “faragon”. Osun and Ekiti state are known for their “Korope” buses. Ibadan on its path was/is still reputed for its brown roofs, and the ubiquitous Micra taxis which are easily noticeable to visitors and inhabitants regardless of the route they tread to make their way into the city.
One is often left to wonder how the micra car, a mid-priced student vehicle in Europe found its way into Oyo state and has succeeded in becoming the official taxi of the state. The car got into the consciousness of Nigerians in late 2005 as it was brought it by the Motor Dealers Association (M.D.A). it began to gain ground with more demand as reviews from users shows that its fuel consumption is economical and its easy to maintain. This buoyed motor drivers to tilt towards owning a micra vehicle in order o reduce maintenance cost and increase profit.
Hence, this made the car to be leased out on hire purchase and it gradually became the “official” taxi of Oyo state which is witnessing a glut of Micra taxis.
There is no doubt that Micra taxis have come to stay in Ibadan and it has become apart of day to day life. Thus, the need to access its impact on the way of life of everyone in and around Oyo state.
From the foregoing, one can deduce that the micra taxi is a necessity for commuters who do not own a personal vehicle but need mobility from one point to another.
On the otherhand however, one can consider the Micra taxis to be a menace as the activities of some of the drivers of this vehicle leave much to desire as they tend to flout every known traffic law and often pose dangers to themselves and other road user as they manoeuvre into tiny spaces which more often than not are spots where they shouldn’t be ordinarily. They are the ‘kings’ of the road in Ibadan as private vehicle owners often cede the way to them in order to avoid collision.
Some dwellers of Ibadan have also recognized other menace beyond traffic offences as it has been claimed that kidnappings and robbery operations are carried out using the Micra vehicle as it can easily meander its way out of trouble in the event that the criminals using the vehicle need to make an escape from law enforcement officers. Based on this, some people have advocated for the car to be banned.
It is however pertinent to note that the proponents of such bans have only resorted to taking a drastic cosmetic approach to an even deeper societal issue. The crux of the matter is that there is a lacuna (crime) which must be addressed as the Micra car itself would not embark on a crime by itself but its only a tool been employed by some unscrupulous elements in the society. So banning the Micra car as been advocated by some folks wont automatically translate to an end in crime.
Conclusively, Micra taxis have become a part of day to day life in Ibadan and their menace(s) can be curbed with strict guidelines and punishment to serve as deterrence to potential offenders.