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Sanwo-Olu bans “Okada” in six LGAs

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By Mercy Kelani

The Lagos State CP announces that the enforcement of the ban will be thorough.

The Lagos State Government’s ban on commercial motorcycles, also known as “Okada”, was firstly announced in 2020, but was not duly enforced. The latest ban came into effect on the 1st of June, 2022, and was issued after the death of a music engineer, Mr. David Umahi, who was killed and burnt allegedly by motorcycle riders. The government enforced the ban in six Local Government Areas of Lagos State; Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa. Upon the effect of the ban, the police force seized motorcycles that breached this policy and crushed the motorcycles. About 140 motorcycles were seized on the day of the enforcement.

The Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Abiodun Alabi, on behalf of the Lagos state government, declared that the ban on commercial motorcycles will have no effect on delivery or logistics riders and power bikes. He stated that Motorcycle riders who operate for private use and courier services are immune to the motorcycle ban. Even at that, couriers who are under pretense or who carry passengers would serve the penalty enforced on commercial motorcycle riders who breach the rule.

Criminal activities in the state is the cause of the motorcycle ban.

The Lagos state government banned motorcycles as a result of their involvement in atrocious and criminal activities in the state. Some of these activities include robberies and reckless riding on highways, which mostly leads to fatal accidents. Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, promises that the ban would put an end to cases of highway accidents and crime related activities perpetrated by Okada riders, although, the Lagos State Police Commissioner admits that the ban could lead to an increase in crime rates of which the police force are prepared to contend with.

The Commissioner of Information, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, stated that the government has stationed additional mini buses and taxis at banned routes to sort the easy transportation of citizens in those areas and fill in the void of motorcycles. He also added that more boats were added to the waterways. The government also mentioned the introduction of more BRT buses, with the belief that Danfo, a big commercial bus and private minibuses would serve as alternative means of transportation to the people.

CDWR condemns Okada ban with no alternative means of transport.

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Right (CDWR), an international campaign that focuses on the promotion and strengthening of the workers’ movement in Nigeria through provision of financial and practical solidarity, condemns the motorcycle ban in Lagos state without any alternative means of transportation or job opportunities for the riders who are forced out of work. It argues that the ban inflicts inconvenience on workers and struggling citizens who rely on motorcycles as their means of transportation to successfully carry out their daily activities in Lagos State.

The group stated that the actual issues responsible for the insecurity and criminality in Lagos State, and Nigeria, in general, are the rising situations of mass poverty in the midst of abundance and elite corruption. They believe that motorcycle is only one of the means through which these atrocities are carried out. The organization also suggested that a plan should also be devised by both the State government and Federal government to provide alternative jobs and opportunities for the people, most especially for those who became motorcycle riders due to unemployment.

CDWR suggests an integrated public transportation system.

Lagos State, being of a prominent size and importance, should have an integrated, publicly-owned and democratically managed transportation system and a modern road network that links residential areas and industrial centers to public highways. The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Right (CDWR) further emphasized that a transport hub is a mandatory infrastructure architecture which will aid the enhancement of easy movement, put an end to persistent traffic standstill, enablement of labor productivity and contribution to citizen’s health and safety.

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