By Dare Akogun
Like most female taxi drivers plying the roads in Abuja, circumstances beyond their control worsened by the current economic recession and the need to even play the role of their family’s breadwinners, compel them to try their hands in such enterprise.
Like the menfolk, they have also shown that despite some cultural and societal norms, which prohibit women from certain endeavors, the women have proved their mettle in many fields.
When 31-year-old Hilda Sambei, a mother of four lost her job as front desk officer in officer in an Abuja hospital due to her inability to cope with the rigours of taking care of four kids and giving optimum output at work place, she was distraught.
Hilda is a driver Adovee Nigeria Limited a company that operates Airport Taxi shuttle operating from the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.
Speaking to our reporter how she became an airport taxi driver, Hilda was presently separated from her husband says she was at the airport to drop her brother going for a trip and it struck her that she can actually make a living from the job, because she already owns a car which was a gift from her father.
According to her, I was working in a hospital as a front desk staff running morning and night shift, but as soon as I gave birth to my last baby it was not easy taking care of the child and doing my office duties so I had to quit.
“Since I lost my job, I was at home for almost a year taking care of my last baby. One day I took my brother to the airport, and the idea to start the taxi business came to my head because I am not doing anything.
“I Started in February after paying 25, 000 as registration fee and so far, so far so good the experience has been wonderful because I have been fortunate to meet good people who has always encouraged me,” she said.
Talking about what motivates her and keep her going she say the mere fact of being able to pay her bills without depending on anyone has been a great motivation.
She also said that her male colleagues have been helpful and always ready to give her tips on how to survive in the profession. She also added that because of story she always gets some privileges
“I enjoyed some privileges like when a passenger requested that you are taking to and for and I have always been fortunate to be assigned to such passenger,” she said.
Hilda, does not dwell on the peculiarity of her job. Every day, she gets up and head straight to the airport with the hope of a better day, not as ‘a female airport taxi driver,’ but as a driver. She believes that any woman who intends to venture into the business of driving taxis can be successful at it.
“When some women tell me that they cannot do something, I tell them not to utter those words until they have tried first,” she said.
“I would like to encourage other women to engage themselves in more professions that are predominantly male. Let us dominate. Let’s come out from our hiding place.
“I don’t want us to succumb to the social orientation that makes us stay away from certain professions. I implore all women to come out. Some of those professions that are predominantly male were not made to be so,” she argued.
Hilda and a happy female passenger Credit: Dare Akogun
The mother of four however urged the federal government to set up policies that will empower willing people that wants to go in this type of business that will be substantial and encouraged them to see it as means of livelihood and not seen as a job for the rejects of the society.
“I think the government can help women like us who are victims of circumstances and are ready to work in this kind of environment to thrive,” she said.