Ever since the new Lagos State Traffic Law was introduced, several motorists and road users have complained about its stiff rules and penalties. At the forefront of the groups who are not in support of some provisions of the law are the commercial motorcycle riders popularly called Okada riders.
The Okada riders under the aegis of Nigerians Auto Bike Commercial Owners and Workers Association (NACOWA), have said about 40,000 of its members will be forced out of business by the new Lagos State Traffic Law.
Mr. Aliyu Wamba, the leader of the association told Punch that the association had about 40,000 members in Lagos and if the state government goes ahead with the law, the rippling effect of them losing their jobs would run in to hundreds of thousands of people as most of them are bread winners of their families.
NACOWA is just one of the six riders associations in the state. If the figures of members of other associations are added up, it would amount to over a hundred thousand Okada riders in the state. This puts commercial motorcycle riding as one of the highest employers of labour in the state.
Mr. Wamba said that the section of the Lagos State Traffic Law which they had a grievance with was the one that prohibited their operations on major highways. He added that they were ready to comply with other provisions of the law.
“We have been banned from operating on about 95 per cent of roads in Lagos and if the law is implemented, automatically, we are out of business. I think the government has to consider the economic and security implications of the policy,” he said.
40,000 people losing their source of livelihood in one state is definitely a huge number. This could result in a rise in crime rates and other ripple negative effects for the state.
Do you think the Lagos State Government should bend the Traffic Laws to allow the unrestricted operation of Okada riders in the state?
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