Go To The Back Of The Bus!
If the American Taliban had its way, this would probably happen here too!
"For women, commuting across this ancient Islamic city has long been as easy as hopping into a minibus or climbing on the back of a motorcycle taxi. Both are cheap and readily available. Even if some female passengers found it unsettling to be so near strange men, who might make lewd comments or press their bodies close, such was the price of efficient transport.
But the days of casual travel are ending for the women of Kano, a bustling trading center of about 500,000 in northern Nigeria. Government officials, determined to halt what they see as the decline of public morality, are banning women from all but a handful of Kano's motorcycle taxis and are requiring them to sit in the back of public minibuses."
However, the second phase of the transportation policy, which will include the ban on women riding motorcycle taxis, threatens to be far less popular. In the next few weeks, police will begin fining motorcycle drivers caught carrying women who are not their relatives. Drivers licenses also may be suspended. And gender-based seating restrictions will extend to all commercial minibuses, even those that are privately owned.
That will leave women with far fewer choices for getting to work or school or going shopping. If the seats designated for women on a minibus are full, they will have to wait for the next bus or one of the new single-sex vehicles. The government has purchased 176 motorcycles and 500 three-wheeled vehicles with covered seating areas that are physically separated from the driver. Together, though, they represent a fraction of the tens of thousands of public transport vehicles that ply Kano's streets.
This is a dense, fast-paced city, with a centuries-old historic quarter whose narrow streets are not accessible to minibuses. Aisha Lawal, a 19-year-old student, said she will have difficulty making her twice-weekly visits to see her grandparents if the vast majority of motorcycle taxis are prohibited from carrying her. She predicted resistance from women.
On a sidewalk a few blocks away, Miriam Muhammed, 24, prepared to climb onto a motorcycle taxi. ``We don't want this,'' she said of the new system. ``Goodness, I'll be frustrated.''