Lagos State Government (LASG) is considering a total ban on motorcycles (popularly known as “okada”) in all local government areas (LGAs) and all local council development areas (LCDA) in the state. The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, disclosed this at a stakeholders’ forum put together by the government to review the ban on commercial motorcycles in parts of the state. The Governor of Lagos State, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, had on June 1, 2022 banned the operation of commercial motorcycles in six LGAs and nine LCDAs in the state.
The six LGAs are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa. The commissioner said that after the people started seeing the results of the ban in the six LGAs, the people of the state had been asking the government to expand the ban statewide. He noted that negative criticism on the ban were made by people who had not witnessed the havoc that okada can wreck. “Some people have suggested that the ban should be statewide, considering the present anxiety over security,” he said.
Omotosho said all stakeholders can make suggestions on LASG’s decision.
The commissioner continued, “Residents are being robbed of their belongings by robbers who used motorcycles to flee scenes of crimes. Our public hospitals are filled with victims of okada accidents, doctors had their hands full at emergency wards, and hoodlums who rode unregistered motorbikes posed great security risks.” In the same vein, he said that all concerned stakeholders in the state now have the opportunity to make suggestions on what steps the government should take on the matter.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, who also attended the forum, said that the ban had recorded significant successes and compliance in the state. He said, “In the affected areas within the period under review, available records show that crime and accident rate reduced astronomically by 86 percent and 63 percent, respectively, while a total of 7,500 motorcycles were impounded and crushed accordingly.” He emphasized that the rise in insecurity nationwide has made it necessary to review the effect on the ban on motorcycles in parts of the state in a bid to protect the residents.
Okada banned in four more LGAs as FG considers total ban in the country.
While Lagos State Government has banned motorcycles in the four more LGAs, the commissioner said that the Federal Government is considering a total ban of motorcycle in the federation. He said, “The Federal Government is presently considering the total ban of motorcycle operations across the federation as most of these underground activities are being enhanced with the use of motorcycles.” Meanwhile, as the FG does this, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved a total ban on the activities of commercial motorcyclists in four additional LGAs and respective LCDAs of the state, which will commence from September, 1, 2022.
Sanwo-Olu had on May 10, 2021, reviewed the 2012 Lagos Traffic Law guiding the Okada operations, after former governors, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode’s administrations had banned their activities. The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Fredric Oladeinde, and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, announced the fresh ban at an inter-ministerial media briefing on August 18, 2022, held at Alausa, Ikeja. The latest affected LGAs are Kosofe, Ikosi-Isheri, Oshodi-Isolo, and Mushin, including the respective LCDAs in the areas.
Ban on popular motorcycles, Opay shows severity of reform.
In January 2020, the Lagos State Government had banned the activities of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada, and tricycles, known as Keke Napep, in some Local Government Areas, bridges, and highways in the state. This had majorly affected the popular motorcycle business, Opay. The state had embarked on total enforcement of the state’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 on the affected six LGAs, nine LCDAs, and 10 major highways across the State with effect from February 1, 2020.