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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Some Abuja Cab Drivers Are Crazy

Sometimes when I am about to board a taxi, many of the drivers reek of alcohol, even as early as 6am. It scares the shit of out of me when I perceive the smell of alcohol on them. We all know that 90% of these drivers never went to any driving school,they just learn to drive for a few days and begin to pick passengers and putting their lives at risk. One fateful day,I boarded a taxi from Wuse ( the side of Wuse where you find,taxis headed towards, Dutse, Jabi, Kubwa and Lugbe axis). I was going to Lugbe, I was the third passenger in the in the taxi (that means I was the second passenger at the back seat) I use to dread been the third passenger in the back seat, because the third passenger usually sits in the most uncomfortable position. You have to sit half way, your back cannot lean your back on the car seat to make room for the last passenger. Its not like the other passengers are comfortable, but you won't like to be number three, trust me. In no time it got filled up and we paid for the fare even before it moved. Usually most of the cab drivers don't like driving through the berger round about because of the much dreaded traffic. This particular driver decided to drive through berger round about,as expected there was that traffic,although it was moving. The driver was in a hurry like many motorists in Abuja and was trying to shunt his way through,we hadn't even gone far,his impatience got us in trouble. He tried to drive his way through the part of the road where the Police had prevented motorist from driving through by placing traffic cones on. He thought he could drive quickly, but was not fast enough. In a flash we saw an officer rush towards the car,opened the passenger door and forced himself in with the passenger who was already seated in the front passenger seat. At that point,I thanked God in my heart that I was not that passenger. I was almost unhappy when I realized I wasn't going to get the front seat when I arrived at that illegal taxi park. After seeing the way the officer jumped in even though the driver was trying to throw him off, he still managed to get in,thereby squeezing the passenger against the driver. The reasonable thing to do by the driver was to stop the car and park well, right? On the contrary, his acceleration increased, I assumed he wanted to turn after the round about and stop the car. He did not,he sped off. At this point the officer commanded in a loud voice, stop the car, I said stop the car!!! For all we knew,one could have sworn that he was deaf, instead he increased the speed. By now, many of us were beginning to panic (especially the female passengers including yours truly). Didn't you hear me? Stop the car now or I release tear gas in this vehicle. Then he brought out a canister of tear gas,fear gripped me instantly. I suddenly remembered my experience with tear gas in Benin city some years back and how it stung my eyes and almost thought I would go blind. I imagined it in this crammed taxi and the after effect on the driver. By now,we were on that high way that leads to Wuye. As if we planned it,we began pleading with the driver to please stop the car and at the same time pleaded with the officer not to release the tear gas for our sakes,we were on the high way for crying out loud. The stubborn driver with his unevenly bleached up face still would not stop. Next thing we knew,the officer began to drag the steering wheel with the driver and the car began to move in a zig zag motion on the high way. We started screaming at the top of our lungs, driver please stop, why are you putting our lives in danger? Drop us here,and take the money. They kept on dragging,I was praying we don't even fall into the drainage along the road. The lady beside me was already crying . We were scared and helpless,we could not jump out of the car because it was on top speed. We had even lost hope and we weren't sure what would happen next. When we got to the point where the Chinese company CCECC was doing some Construction. An army hilux just kind of appeared in front of us and blocked the driver,so he was forced to stop. Two military officers jumped out from behind the hilux. Park well they barked, ( dem de tell person?). The driver parked well. They said you are under arrest for kid napping a uniformed officer. So I was expecting the crying lady to get out so that I could quickly get down,she just sat down there. I don't know if it was shock,fear or curiosity. I was very surprised,and said please get out of my way, if you don't want to get out of this taxi, I do. I was overjoyed the military showed up, just when we needed them. They bundled the cab driver into their hilux and asked the police officer to drive the cab behind them. Motorists who drove past at that time just watched. They zoomed off with the driver and I wished I could be a fly on the wall to see what would be done to him. We got stranded on that road,it was quite hard to get a taxi from that spot,so we all decided to trek ahead a bit. Luckily for us,a good Samaritan who watched what happened and was going to Gwagwalada decided to give us all a ride. We talked about the incident until we each got to our various destinations. Some of these cab drivers get high on some substances before going about their daily activities. I wish there was a way that could be checked,or if the government enforces the DUI (driving under the influence) test.