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Inside the world of Kabu Kabu (2)

Kabu Kabu

– Why clean cars flood the business

The use of private cars for commercial purpose has been in existence for a very long time though with cheap and rickety vehicles then. But this time around, the business has assumed an advanced and modernized stage when the use of clean and very expensive rides has become the order of the day.

Not only that, more and more operators keep evolving daily with their intimidating automobiles flooding different parts of Lagos state and other parts of the country.

However, the reasons the trade is enjoying robust attention at the moment are not unconnected with high unemployment rate and dwindling economic situation of the country.

ENCOMIUM Weekly went round some parts of Lagos state, and some cab operators we spoke to also confirmed the ugly scenario…



Being a Kabu Kabu operator is not what I actually like but the poor economic situation of Nigeria has made a lot of us embrace the trade. I am graduate of Psychology. But since I graduated in 2006, I have not got any meaningful job.

And the one I was managing, I lost it in 2013. So, the little money I gathered, I invested it in this car. Not that I am comfortable with the job, but at least I am taking care of my family. My prayer is that the present administration creates a condusive atmosphere for small scale businesses to thrive. If that’s done, a lot of people will dump Kabu Kabu business.



I joined the business late last year. Since, I have not been doing badly in it. It’s only that it’s not predictable. At times, you make money, at times you don’t. but there is always little or no police harassment on the roads unlike those operating the Lagos colour taxi cabs.

On the average, I realize N25,000 in a week after all the expenses for the week. But to be honest, I don’t like doing it but there is no other means of livelihood now apart from that. If I get another meaningful job tomorrow, you can’t find me here again.

I always come here all the way from Ikorodu and I may go back home with less than N2,000 in a day.



I have been in this business since 2011. I have three cars but I use two of them as Kabu Kabu. The patronage is low this time around because there is no money in circulation. But at times, one may hit jack pot, especially on weekends.

I make more money on weekends here than every other day because a lot of guys bring their girlfriends to see movies. And when they close late, they will surely need our services. At the same time, it’s very risky because not all the passengers you see at night are good to pick.

The truth is that, if I get alternative job that can fetch me N100,000 monthly, I will quit Kabu Kabu business. There are lots of other businesses one can do if there is money.



I joined Kabu Kabu business in 2013 when I lost my job. I had to convert my private car, Toyota Camry to public car to enable me cater for my family. I am not happy doing Kabu Kabu but I have no alternative. The economy is getting tougher by the day, and the government is yet to get a direction of its activities.

So, you don’t need to be told before you make use of what you have to get what you want. But it’s painful. And not all the time you get enough money because a lot of people are afraid of boarding a private car, especially at night because of the fear of being abducted by unknown men. But in all, I thank God because if there is life, there is hope.



Kabu Kabu business is becoming more competitive at the moment. Even, we have a lot of university graduates who have lost their jobs among us. They’re the ones with fine cars all over. They enjoy good patronage because a lot of people now prefer cars with air conditioner (AC).

So, people like us are abandoned unless there is a rule that restricts every operator to a particular number of trips per day. For instance, we don’t queue here. There is nothing like turn. Any passenger that comes will just point to any car of his or her choice.

So, if your car is not neat, you’re on your own. But if the economy is good, I don’t think people will like to convert such cars to Kabu Kabu.



Not all of us in this business are poor. For instance, I find it difficult staying at home. That’s why I joined Kabu Kabu business. I have more than one car, and I am also into other things that fetch me money. But the fact remains that you don’t need to rely on only one source of income if you want to survive in this very harsh economy.

It’s painful, anyway using an object of comfort like this for public transport but you don’t have a choice if you care about yourself and your family. My target is that if I can realize more money before the end of second quarter of this year, I will leave Kabu Kabu and face real business.

Even as it’s now, I only come out maximum of three days in a week.



It’s true we have more people joining Kabu Kabu business daily. If you notice, more beautiful cars are being used to convey passengers nowadays unlike in the last 10 or 15 years. Everything boils down to the fact that Nigeria’s economy is yet to improve.

I am from Kogi State, if I can get everything I want in my state, I won’t bother coming to Lagos using my only car for commercial purpose. I lost my job in 2011. Since, I couldn’t get another one. And I can’t be waiting for uncertainty.

My children are in higher institutions, I need to pay their school fees. The only grace I have is that I am a landlord. So, rent is out of my problems. But still, we must live at least a little comfortably. That’s why I decided to be using my car for Kabu Kabu. That doesn’t stop me from using it for personal outing with my family.

It’s just the poor economic situation of the country that pushed me to the business. But in all, one needs to be grateful to God.



I live in Sango, Ota, Ogun but I operate in Ikeja. The reason I prefer this location is that a lot of people work here and they will surely be needing the services of people like us because not everyone that has a car puts it on the road every day. So, boarding neat cars like mine is usually preferred by such people.

I ventured into Kabu Kabu business using my only car because I have to pay my children’s school fees, take care of my home and other expenses. Government is not ready to provide for anybody. So, I have to forget the pleasure which the car is meant for and start using it for commercial purpose. I can’t be looking at the car, fueling it without bringing anything in return.



I was a factory worker for about seven years before I quit in 2013. I left the job because it was becoming too stressful and I could hardly make ends meet. But along the line, I got a financial assistance from a friend. That’s why I was able to acquire this car in 2014.

I just thought of it that using it for interstate transport system may not earn me much because of a lot of challenges involved. Then, I chose to be plying Lagos routes only. I make about N40,000 weekly but not every week you can be that lucky.

At times, I may not even get up to N20,000. But all I know is that it’s better than not doing anything at all. Things are hard this time around that’s why you see more decent cars being used as Kabu Kabu

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