Some youths in Nasarawa State have been engaging in commercial motorcycling to fend for themselves and augment family finances.
The greater part of these youngsters who are mostly viewed as inexperienced are viewed as the reason for accidents on the roads.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the rate of unemployment in Nasarawa is 27.4 per cent while underemployment rate is 24.3 per cent.
Despite the employment rate of 48.3 per cent, a number of young persons have been forced into embracing vocations considered not suitable for their ages.
The most noticeable is commercial motorcycling as the two-wheeled vehicle fills in as the commonest method for transportation.
This is often seen as most preferred by residents as it goes down the nooks and crannies with rates as low as N30.
Residents who are not car owners are left with two choices, the motorcycle or the tricycle with their destination determining their choice.
Threat Of Underage Riders
A cross-section of people who want to access a hard-to-reach area – in haste or desire to resist gridlock – simply hop on a motorcycle while those whose movements are within the city prefer to ride on tricycle.
Regardless of the worthiness and acceptability of the two-wheeled vehicle in the state, there are growing concerns over the expanding number of underage riders out and about.
In spite of this, motorcyclists have advanced a resistance over the menace, although they want the menace checked.
One of the commercial motorcyclists in the state, Ahmadu Ahmadu, shared his opinion in an interview with Channels Television.
He said, “Before a rider is registered, he should be assessed if he is suitable to ride or not. This shouldn’t be a difficult task for the concerned authorities.”
Some of the underage riders who spoke to Channels Television attributed their choice of livelihood to the absence of better options.
They, however, said they were willing to quit if provided a better means of bringing food to the table.
An underage rider, Muhammad Nura, said, “If we don’t do this business, we have a challenge because it is what we use to cater for ourselves and parents.”
Aliyu Musa also said, “it is my business; I grew up to it and If I don’t do it, I don’t have anything to do,” while another rider Aliyu Yusuf promised to quit the job if the government would cater for him.
This caught the attention of the government as the Secretary to the Government of the State, Tijjani Aliyu, gave assurance that there were plans to get young persons out of the streets.
“Very soon our incubation plant will be ready and we will use it for training our youth on various trades. We are making an effort to get them out of the streets,” he said.
The use of motorcycles for commercial transportation in the state was borne out of the necessity to fill the gap of inadequate transportation.
Yet, the attitude of these riders remains a source of worry to residents who believe the young persons are undermining such efforts.
Some of them believe the actualisation of the government’s youth empowerment plans will turn the attention of the underage riders to suitable opportunities and in turn minimise road accidents in the state.