Inside the world of kabu kabu (4)

-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…



A lot of us here are not comfortable with this job, but we don’t have a choice. I have my certificate but can’t find any white collar job. So, I had to contact my elder brother who has three cars to give me one so that I can be using it for commercial purpose which he obliged. And since he gave me, my life has changed. He said he used that to empower me so that I will not be coming to him for anything again. I am married with kids. If not that, how will I be taking care of my family? Not that I am comfortable with it but I don’t have a choice. The economy is bad, there is no job anywhere. Instead, companies are sacking their workers.

So, the situation in the country has forced everybody to accept the saying that half bread is better than none. But if I am able to realize enough money, I will quit at the end of the year because being a kabu kabu driver is risky. I can’t continue it throughout my life.



I hail from Benue state. I came to Lagos about 10 years ago after I finished my Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business Administration. I was working in a bank before we were sacked in 2013. Since then, I converted my only car to kabu kabu. All effort to get another job has not materialized since. And I can’t turn to a robber because of harsh economy. I need to make use of what I have to get what I need. The most important thing right now is to feed my family. I thank God I am not a beggar.



I have been in kabu kabu business for about four years. And since I started out, I never regretted it. But that’s not to say I am really enjoying it because that’s not my job. I was a vulcaniser but I left Ibadan, Oyo state where I was practicing when I could not make enough money from vulcanizing. And when I settled down in Lagos, I started riding okada. But when okada was outlawed on the highways and express roads in Lagos, there wasn’t much money from okada business again.

I now sold the bike and added the loan I took from the cooperative society to acquire this Toyota Camry. Since then, I have been using it as kabu kabu and any time I want to take my family out, I use it also as a private car. But if the country is better, I will quit. It’s not a thing of pride to be telling people you’re a kabu kabu operator. But one needs to thank God for being alive and not hungry every day.



I was dealing in electronics until 2012, when my shop got burnt in Alaba, Lagos market. Since then, I joined kabu kabu business, using my only car (Honda). I may not run two trips in a day because we’re too many here, even with finer cars than mine. And you have to queue. You can’t move until it’s your turn. So, it makes it difficult to carry passengers anyhow. Making money here daily is difficult.

At times, I may go home with N2,000. It’s even difficult to maintain the car. I will surely quit before the end of the year if the situation of the country improves.



It’s not a thing of joy running kabu kabu but the economy is so bad that Nigerians could hardly cope. I joined this trade last year. I also teach in a private school that’s why I am only here in the evening and on weekends, all to make ends meet.

Nigeria is hard now, and responsibilities as a man are accumulating. There’s nothing a man can do to face the task than to create more sources of income for himself. I don’t have an intention to do kabu kabu for long. I will quit if the country is better. But now, I give glory to God that I am able to cope, no matter how.



I am from Olamboro, Kogi state. I am into aluminum business. I fix sliding doors and aluminum windows. But since the economy has been on the down side, I don’t get contract any more. Very few people are building houses now. So, when I discovered that things were getting extremely difficult, I had to convert my personal car to kabu kabu.

I have four children and all of them are in school, both secondary and tertiary institutions. Taking care of their school fees alone is a lot of money. So, I joined kabu kabu business to enable me carry out my role effectively as a father and a husband. Not that it’s easy as a kabu kabu operator but I have no choice. All we need do is pray that God changes the situation of the country so that everybody can be in his or her right place. I must confess, this is not my right place, I just have to endure it pending the time everything will be okay.


Related Stories:



About the Author