Inside the world of Kabu Kabu (3) -Why clean cars flood the business

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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…



I am not a full time kabu kabu operator. I also work elsewhere but our salary is not regular. As I speak, the company owes me four months’ salary. We were paid last in October 2015. But since I have a car, I can’t allow my wife and children to be suffering for nothing. So, I had to put the car on the road for commercial use. I don’t belong to any association or a particular garage, but I pay the necessary dues on the road, but not to a particular association. The country is terrible now and responsibilities as a bread winner keep multiplying. I believe it’s better to use what I have to get what I don’t have, instead of waiting for salary indefinitely.



I was a banker but I lost my job in 2014. I took to kabu kabu business to keep the family going pending the time I will get another job or think of any other better thing to do. I don’t find it easy at all. And the irony of it is that you may be here till the day closes without realizing a kobo. And your family will be expecting something from you when you return home. I only thank God I am still alive because there’s hope when there is life.

Passengers are attracted to my car because of its neatness and all the accessories that guarantee maximum comfort, but not everybody can afford to pay as high as I charge at times.



I was into spare parts business before veering into kabu kabu in 2012. I only wanted to do this for the mean time because I am not really comfortable using my only car for kabu kabu. This is supposed to be for pleasure but since my shop has been demolished, I have nowhere to continue my spare parts business. But I am working towards securing another place. I will quit kabu kabu if everything works according to plan.

Kabu kabu is a risky venture but those looking at it from afar may not know this. Even that’s the reason I don’t work at night. If the situation of the country improves, you won’t find people like me in this business again.



I joined kabu kabu trade last year. I am an auto mechanic but I realized the need to double my source of income, that’s why I converted this car to kabu kabu. I ply Ogba – Alausa route. I come here three times a week. Although, not all the time you will realize enough money. At times, you may not be fortunate to run two trips in a day. But averagely, I realize about N20,000 in a week. I think that’s not bad compared to just sitting down in my workshop waiting for customers to bring their faulty vehicles, a dream that may not come true.

There is poverty in the land. Everywhere is dry, no money. So, to take care of my family, I had to be in the trade.



I lost my job with Nigerian Breweries Plc in 2012. Since that time, I have never got another job. I bought this car shortly after leaving Nigerian Breweries. So, when there was nothing to fall back on, I had to convert it to kabu kabu two years ago. Not that I am really making enough money but the situation in the country has made me realize that half bread is better than nothing. Now, with that, I am able to take care of my family. I thank God I am no longer paying rent. I have a house of my own in Akute, Ogun state from where I come to this place every day.

I believe the main reason for the influx of people into kabu kabu business is lack of employment in the country. Every day you hear of companies sacking workers including banks. So, what are we saying? And the confidence people reposed on Buhari’s administration has not yielded any tangible result. We’re still hoping that things will change before the end of the year. I am nursing the hope of quitting kabu kabu if I can find another job or I gather enough money to start another business because I can’t do this for long. It’s not that easy.



I am from Ibadan, Oyo state, but I live in Lagos. I have been a factory worker for 15 years before I quit in 2007. I opened a shop in Aboru area of Iyana Ipaja, Lagos, where I was dealing in food stuff, including yam. But the place was demolished in 2011. The little money I had was invested in commercial bus (danfo) which later developed fault. I realized I was only spending on it more than making money from it, I had to dispose it off. I had to get loan from my cooperative society to buy a neat car (Honda) to start kabu kabu business in 2014. To me, there is no regret using this kind of car for kabu kabu. I can’t eat the car or just keep looking at it. Whether or not I use it for commercial purpose, I will still be fueling it. So, why do I need wasting money on it without making anything from it.

No one likes using his car for kabu kabu, it’s because of the situation in the country. And as a matter of fact, we even have graduates among us. Most of them have lost their jobs. We have teachers among us who come here only in the evening. Although, not all the time we get patronage because of the charges, it’s only for those who can afford to pay that patronize us. But I thank God for life.



I have been in Ogba for quite a while as a taxi driver. But recently, I started using my private car for kabu kabu. I took the decision when I realized that police harassment was getting too much over any Lagos colour cars. Not only the police, a lot of other people including LASTMA, local government officials always extort us over any inconsequential offence. But with a private car, they would give you respect.

At the same time, I pray it won’t b a job I will do before I relocate to Abeokuta, my home town. I still believe things will be better



I am a teacher in a private school. I only come out in the evening but on weekends, I come out in the morning and close around 8pm. Running a kabu kabu is not all that easy because of the risk involved. But it’s a very decent profession. And those of us using clean cars have a great advantage over those using rickety cars. Most of the passengers prefer fine car especially when they’re going out with their families. Instead of boarding Lagos colour taxi cab, they prefer private cars like this.



I am in kabu kabu business because of the economic situation of the country. There’s no any other job for me since I left my job in 2014. And I need to pay rent, school fees of my children and all that. I hope to quit kabu kabu any time I find an alternative job that will be more convenient than this. Not that those of us running kabu kabu are satisfied with the business but there’s nothing one can do when there is no choice. And we can’t turn to armed robbers and we must eat and live good.

So, the only alternative to those of us who are fortunate to own cars is to convert such cars to kabu kabu. But as soon as the situation of the country improves, I will abandon the job and start using my car for the purpose it’s bought.


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