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The Lagos State Government vs Commercial Motorcycle Riders – Who Should Back Down from the Ban on 475 Roads in the State?

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Yesterday in Lagos, hundreds of commercial motorcycle (Okada) riders took to the streets in protest of the ban placed on them from plying some major roads. The Okada riders have been banned from 475 roads in the state and they took their protests to Ikorodu road yesterday, destroying government properties in the process.

It was reported that they vandalized some BRT buses along Onipanu and Palmgrove bus stops. Also at Ejigbo, the riders blocked the road, causing traffic jam in the area while they carried leaves and chanted anti-government songs.

However, in response to this, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji threatened to ban the use of Okadas out rightly from the state. He said the House would not hesitate to ban Okada out rightly if the riders continue to destroy government property and constitute nuisance in the State.

In a report published on BN last month {click here}, it was noted that about 40,000 commercial motorcycle riders would lose their jobs if the Lagos state government implements this ban which is one of the provisions of the new Traffic Law. However, the state governor, Babatunde Fashola made a pertinent point recently when he spoke about the risks associated with driving these motocycles on the high ways.

Many fathers have lost their children; many husbands have lost their wives; many children have lost both parents. All we are saying is don’t go on the highways. First because we must even understand, Okadas and vehicles are automobiles; they are not toys; they are mechanical devices and therefore for you to even use them you must go and train. That’s why you go to driving school to go and learn; then they certify you. Somebody just pulls okada from any parts of the country he likes, gets onto a truck, he’s going to Lagos and then you entrust your life to that man? As if that was not bad enough, he drives against traffic?

It is true that many people have lost their limbs, and worse still, their lives to the reckless driving of these Okada riders on the high ways. However, the ban has already put a strain on Lagos residents who are finding it difficult to commute to their various destinations due to the inadequate public transport facilities. On the other hand, the ban would create unemployment on a large scale in the state which might lead to increased crime rate amongst other negative implications.

In such a situation, who should back down? Should the Lagos State Government rescind its decision or should the Okada riders just accept the ban in good faith?

What are your thoughts?

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at www.deolascope.blogspot.com

39 Comments

  1. Obi

    October 23, 2012 at 7:45 am

    The point the Government is maaking concerning the reclessness of the Okada riders is very correct, but conciling thier operation is not the solution. Instead let the government oorganise workshops for them and orientate them on how to go about their operation in the State. Also of great importance is that government should create Okada road as she did to BRT. Go to Republic ofBenin, there is a seperate road for bicycle and motorcyle. So, Fashola and his cabinet should have a rethink and consider the effects oof the Ban on Lagosians

    • AA

      October 24, 2012 at 1:10 am

      Don’t lie to make your point. There is no special road for okadas and bikes in Rep. Of Benin

  2. Temitope

    October 23, 2012 at 8:11 am

    I support the Commercial Motorcycle riders on this… It makes no sense why the Lagos State govt should give such order.. Transportation around Lagos state has been terrible since then.. The hold up is crazy,thousands of people at the Bus stop and hundreds more trekking home for no reasonable reason… Even the rich are crying on this one cos the roads are blocked now.. Only if Fashola can try taking the bus home just to experience what are a fighting for…

  3. Berry Choco Latte

    October 23, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I’ll try to be objective seeing as I’ve only ever been on okadas twice in my life (NEVER AGAIN), and I really can’t stand the way they drive, without regard for safety. I’m all for a ban on highways – however, I’m not sure I agree with a complete ban only because we’re talking about the livelihood of 40,000 men, who have families to take care of. Like Adeyemo pointed out, increased unemployment will most likely lead to an increase in crime.

    BTW – even the BRT bus drivers think they own the roads and will not hesitate to put other drivers in danger! As the government is making noise about okada drivers learning how to drive properly and get proper licenses, they need to ensure that the BRT bus drivers are appropriately trained. Better yet, get mystery riders to report any unsafe driving antics to a task force!

  4. peter

    October 23, 2012 at 8:37 am

    The ban of okada on lagos high way is good for the state. Considering the high rate of crime through the use of okada. Those that are vandalizing government properties are the criminals among them.

  5. Bigsemite

    October 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Since the it has been identified that the operations of these Okada riders are causing irreversible damages (lifes) to community as a whole while banning them would bring economic impact on the community. It is cleared that our lifes are more important than other things. Then let the okada be banned. The issue of scarce transportation would be resolved with time. In terms of unemployment leading to crime, it is a bad orientation on the writer’s (or majority) view. Unemployment suppose to create innovation (where people think of doing something unique to meet end means) and not crime. Meanwhile, most innovation that are supposed to be a welcome idea in this country had been turned to Criminal act. For example, Cyber-Hacking is good idea generated by smart thinkers. In Australia for example, there is a society that monitor these type of activities and the call main guys ETHICAL HACKERs. But in Nigeria we call them YAHOO-YAHOO, what a bad impresion.

  6. Govt should not back down

    October 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

    The mere fact that they have resolved to acting like animals destroying govt property because of the ban is proof enough that these guys should NOT be handling any mechanical device ESPECIALLY without training. Yes, people will be affected by this but my limbs and most importantly, my life is more important to me. I personally stopped taking okada a long time ago and resolved to walking, wherever the bus stops me, I continue with my leg or keke. I don’t own a car, I can’t afford one so I’m one of the bus jumpers. I love my life and I only have 1 of it, the number of okada accidents happening on a daily basis is alarming. I have also heard stories that people use this same okada to commit crimes, they rob you and speed off on their okada. The pros outweigh the cons by far biko

    • buzor

      October 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      Whether your limbs or your life is important who cares that’s purely your fucking business. And that you have taking bikes a long time ago, your business too.mumu,anybody beg you make you climb okada?

    • Honeycoco

      October 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Haba Buzor, e reach that one. abi u sabi am before?

  7. iamfascinating

    October 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Okadas have become a necessary evil. The govt needs to have better alternatives though.

    http://www.thestunninglady.blogspot.com

  8. Daniel Ebeh

    October 23, 2012 at 9:11 am

    What about those who are using motorcycle purely for private purpose ie going to work to ease transport expenses? Because the law emphasis on commerceial motorcycle while the law enforcers are sizing any bike they see

  9. Desire

    October 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

    This is a no win situation. Government is right to want to protect human lives but not at the expense of unleashing 40,000 illiterate,untrained men with no orientation into an already saturated labour market. Now bac to sentiment, Its a bloody inconvenience, i refuse to waste two hrs of my life in lagos traffic when i can b there in 5mins on a bike. But again most of those Okada riders have a deathwish and little regard for their lives. I think they should meet half way. Government should compromise.

  10. olabisi

    October 23, 2012 at 10:03 am

    *sign* like Togo we can also have roads meant for Okada alone cos these suffering is much! Govt shd av a rethink pliz

    • AA

      October 24, 2012 at 1:16 am

      For the last time there are no special roads in Togo and Rep of Benin for okadas!!!! Stop lying joor

  11. Realist

    October 23, 2012 at 10:22 am

    personally Okada drivers are reckless, law breaking citizens , who dont stop at traffics lights and drive towards on coming traffic………….. 99% of crime in the state involves the use of okada , yet some people on here are supporting the givt. Okadas should be banned in the state, its a menace that innocent people should have to do without. Ameachi did this is in PH and at first people complained but now PH is sane and crime has reduced drastically.

    • buzor

      October 23, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      Has that stopped crime in PH?

  12. makar Y

    October 23, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Listen fashola,u went nd build separate road fr BRT,Y cnt u do d same tin for Okada.ur banning okoda people but kwn dat some of dem r graduates but due to unemployment,they hv to ride okada to mk ends meet.if u of saving lifes,u people shoule ensure dat d road is well constructed cos while we lost lifes is cos of bad roads.tx

  13. tsemaye

    October 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

    The carelessness of okada riders is something to give concern for,they are rough and the annoying thing is they dont get injured the passengers do but not withstanding okadas are helpers they conveniently take you to where you want to go to without the hitch of stopping from bus stops to bus stops and helpingg you trace a place you dont know, a bus wont do that.Now if the govt bans okada drivers from operating does the govt have plans to place them in other services that will bring them money equal to or more than the okada driving?is banning okada the end to terrible accidents that take place on a regular basis?if no jobs which i bet there isnt whats the effect in the society.HE should consider that too cos displacin a whoppping 40,000 men off their jobs isnt childs play every bears the brunch of it in more than one way.

    • Adeyemi

      October 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Many young girls have become mothers as a result of the easy money available to the okada riders, many craftsmen have also abadoned their trades and become okada men. All you need to become a Lagosian from some bush is to come to Lagos with a bike. Criminals operate and escape through the bikes and a visit to any orthopaedic hospital would tell you that banning okada from Lagos roads is a task that must be done

  14. NSG

    October 23, 2012 at 11:49 am

    They have guts but in Nigeria, government will always have their way. And this is not to say that there are no bad eggs amonst the okada men.

    http://naijasportsgists.wordpress.com/

  15. Hadassah

    October 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Yes okada riders can be reckless and they’ve aided some crimes that have been committed in the state. Fashola hasn’t done anything yet till he provides an alternative means of transportation and livelyhood, ie for the passengers and the riders. Let’s not forget that some roads can only be plied by bikes…

  16. Ibukun

    October 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Everyday that I watch my friend limp around, I am reminded of the okada accident that cost her functional walking ability. So I’m sorry that I am not a fan of okadas, and would rather have them removed. I used to live in apapa, and the okadas there ride like they’re on a suicide mission. There is no accountability, they pose a nuisance….watch how okadas circle around motorists who “hit” them even when they are in the wrong. In fact, I refuse to drive in Apapa because of them, always bursting out of nowhere and ignoring road rules.

  17. buzor

    October 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Is Iju road a high way? What about some streets at Ikeja,Island and mainland that are not highways. The truth of the matter is this; Fashola is building aa mega city and he feels that these hawkers and okadas are miscreants,so he must get rid of them. About the risk associated with okada riding,na true,se na today?even planes fall from the sky,should there be a ban on flying aeroplanes because of planes crashes. The best thing to do,organise workshop for these okada riders and reorientate them and put a ban. This is Africa,Nigeria and not London where they have good and various road transport network,their economy is good,their government creates jobs,unlike ours where there is high rate of unemployment FASHOLA my family go eat. Build a MEGA city and not a MEGA CRISIS

  18. C S

    October 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Even if they make another road for them (okadas) will they obey using the road. I suggest Govt should try to compromise banning them out rightly is wrong. Remember, okada riders have sent a lot of people to their early grave.

  19. buzor

    October 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Reorientate these okada riders and not to put a ban. People are talking about 40,000 okada riders losing their jobs,no one has considered the motorcycle dealers,motorcycle mechanics who earn their living through this means. Don’t make miserable for us.

  20. buzor

    October 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Whether your limbs or your life is important to you who cares that’s purely your fucking business. And that you have stopped taking bikes a long time ago, your business too.mumu,anybody beg you make you climb okada?

  21. tbn

    October 23, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I support the ban, lives of people are very important and should not be compromised in any way. I know it would be difficult for these men to find alternative means of livelihood due to this ban, but the government should look for alternative means of engaging them with salary to avoid increased crime rate in lagos. It has worked in Abuja so far so i believe that it would work in lagos too. When they banned them in Abuja I am sure there was serious uproar too, but now we’re all driving safely without worrying about an okada accident.

  22. Govt should not back down

    October 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Err, I’m amazed that being cautious about staying alive and asking people to do same makes one a ‘mumu’. Is there a particular reason this ‘buzor’ person is being this hostile?

  23. Chi

    October 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Ban them totally. Most of them are lunatics based on the way they drive anyway. I will be glad if I never see an okada again!

  24. Govt should not back down

    October 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I’m curious though, while it may be a good idea to train these guys properly (keyword being ‘properly’) rather than place a ban, what happens while the training is on-going? I mean, they can’t be allowed to continue being on our roads till training is complete, can they? and it can’t just be a 1 day training. There isn’t even a proper traffic control system on ground that’ll help put these guys under control. So if getting okada off our roads will lead to a ‘mega crisis’ (I still dunno how this will happen mind you), how will this crisis be averted during this proposed training period?

  25. No Long Thing

    October 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Unemployment or Death? Your call, Bella Naija.

  26. nita

    October 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Really?! Govt wants to protect human life abi dem wan ‘package’ to become ‘london’ overnight. I enter okada all d tym but if I get accident no govt go treat free of charge! Do de care? I go treat myself enter okada back to my house n on d way I will beg d okada man to be gentle bcos I just na anor okada cause my accident. Y am I saying dis? Bcos Okada is a ‘necessary evil’. Our govt does not care abt human life anymore n dts d truth. We believe d person dt did nt go to sch is a ‘mumu’ n u cannot teach him to make him a beta person. Fashola wants to enforce common traffic law wit d help of d ‘military’ y? Is dt how de enforce a law in a developed world? Then tomorrow d ‘military’ will flog somebody to death just bcos of mere traffic law. Our traffic law is in ‘English’ y? Who no sabi ‘English’ no de drive 4 d road? U did nt teach him d traffic law but u want to enforce it. De can afford to ban okada bcos immediately dem enter power none of their family member go enter okada ever again…de will steal enof 4 their next generation. 4 dose who say d angry okada men r violent ‘ imagine not being able to feed ur wife n children wen day break’ d fastest motivation is to do ‘evil’. Dts d only way to get attention frm a Nigerian govt!!!

  27. Gloria Anthony

    October 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Am not in support with what d government is doing. If they want to ban okada then they should create an alternative. At least provide 2000 keke for transportation for them at a low cost where payments can be flexible. The buses n keke we have at d. Moment is very small for d population of Lagos, making every body to go through the stress they don’t deserve.

  28. 5 star

    October 23, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Always looking at things in only one direction… The typical Nigerian mentality.
    Now, to everyone saying that they should ban okada, do you know it affects govt and private businesses, NIPOST, DHL, FEDEX and all? They use dispatch riders to deliver services and these people have already started asking the LASG to think twice about this decision its making. Instead of banning them out rightly, why not be smart and talk to some of these Okada riders to join these business and make a decent living for themselves. They would be trained on how to deliver services to customers and of course, we can always associate a reckless rider to any business it works for.
    If you are looking at it in only one direction, saying that they have caused a lot of havoc and loss of human lives, then every road user is guilty. Fashola has been on the business of repairing roads, he or the contractors only speed up road projects that bring in revenue and delays work on others that don’t and so you see dangerous holes in the middle of the roads and highways and everyone tries to avoid them and if you are a good driver, you should the dangers associated with that.
    One mistake everyone keeps making is by comparing Lagos to PH and Abuja. Lagos is a state and the others are cities.. and though the state can be likened to a city because of its geographical size, its population is incomparable. Amaechi banned okada from PH and not Rivers State. Rochas Okorocha banned okada from Owerri and not Imo State, so the LASG should try to find measures in accommodating the men whom he pampered just because he was looking for votes. Let him show consistency in his dealing with this men.
    Has anyone even thought about the recklessness of the Danfo Drivers as well? has anyone talked about the recklessness of the official drivers who drive these so-called govt officials, even through traffic jams? Please lets be factual and not allow our emotions be-cloud our reasoning.

  29. Lyn

    October 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    They should all be banned, they are all road terrorists and a security threat to lives and properties in lagos state. KICHINA

  30. NNENNE

    October 24, 2012 at 4:59 am

    How did we manage when there were no okada?
    They constitute public nuisance, chaos in our cities.
    They should be banned.

  31. Mary Joshua

    October 27, 2012 at 4:19 am

    I completely support all those against okada’s rider, they are complete nuisance, come to think of it, what stop people from trekking or waiting for bus? Why is it dat its only in dis country bad is good and when change comes the person behind it is bad, please let s change our orientation of evil and try and be a change person ourselves, Fashola go we support u we true Nigeria not da rush rush people of lagos, only God know how many hausa okada riders have killed people sometime I get scared to crossed da main roads becos of da illiterate dat fill they are unemployed.

  32. Jogojogo

    November 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Our goverment ha sturbon den wun ear wat people ha saying bcus de sourverness is tu much

  33. Rufus A. Ajose

    November 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    the state govt. should hold and maintain his law properly there was no were you can fine okada transport in nigerian constitution the lagos state govt. side it clear that dey should not go to the major rd, let them change or relocate to new site and street. maind you till now okada are still operating fine at Abeokuta express way everyday. let lagos state govt. make a law and following it as dey side. we need a law that is working. just odinaly kutonu here u cant missbehave everything is according to the law. EKO O NI GBA JE OOOOOOOOOOOO

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