Due to the increasing number of female commercial drivers in Lagos, the Grassroot People and Gender Development Centre (GRADE) has urged the State Government to create secure spaces within the transportation industry for women.

The non-governmental organization attributes the rise of “female keke drivers” in Lagos to high unemployment rates, widespread poverty, and economic hardships.

In a statement released to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, Vivian Emesowum, the Executive Director of GRADE, noted that the transportation sector is undergoing a significant transformation with the proliferation of ‘Keke’ and minibuses (korope) becoming the most common modes of transportation.

Emesowum also stressed the importance of increased media coverage of female commercial drivers and their challenges, particularly in light of economic difficulties.

“The surge of women entering the transportation sector coincides with a period of economic hardship for many households in Nigeria, where women are struggling to meet financial obligations within their families,” she stated. “Following the lifting of the COVID-19 lockdown by the federal government in 2020, more women joined the ranks of commercial drivers on Lagos roads, challenging the once male-dominated profession.”

Capacity Building As part of its Women’s Voice and Leadership Project, GRADE partnered with ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) to conduct a one-day skill and capacity-building workshop on road safety laws, violations, and penalties.

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Emesowum revealed that the workshop involved 20 female public transport drivers in the Alimosho and Ojo areas of Lagos State. The project received funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) through the Strategic Opportunity Fund (SOF) to promote safe and dignified working conditions for female public transport drivers in Lagos State.

She clarified that the project’s objective is to address the barriers to gender equality and empower women and girls by providing technical and financial support to local women’s rights organizations and their networks.

During the workshop, Aladesida Olarewaju, a director from the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), encouraged participants to become agents of change in their respective communities by educating others about road rules and regulations.

Olarewaju also highlighted major traffic violations that can result in fines, urging ‘keke’ drivers to avoid overloading, obey traffic signals, practice safe driving, prioritize their safety, and consider the well-being of other road users.


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