The Lagos state government has debunked an earlier statement declaring a ban on motorcycles, tricycles and bike-hailing services (Gokada, Oride, etc)
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, had on Monday announced that motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (keke napep or maruwa) would be banned on highways and in 15 local governments in the state. The proscription would take effect from February 1. and the decision was in response to ‘scary figures’ of fatal accidents recorded from okada and tricycle operators in the state between 2016 and 2019.
However, this news was met with mixed reactions by the operators most especially the technology-driven bike-hailing companies Oride, And Gokada.
Surprisingly, the story has taken a new dimension as the commissioner for information and strategy has come to debunk his earlier statement. However, from the Honorable commissioner’s statement, it would appear that consultation is ongoing with major stakeholders in the okada and keke business. Whether or not the ban on motorcycles is lifted, it is obvious the state has focused on the activities of the operators because of the menace they now constitute in the big city considering the number of accidents caused by them.
The fulcrum of the state government action is premised on the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018. The law lays credence to the fact that the problem of the Nigerian state is not the unavailability of laws but the inability to implement these laws.
It should be noted that the regime of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola once declared a clampdown on the activities of the okada riders which included compulsory helmet usage by both Okada riders and passengers.
The 2012 Lagos State Road Traffic Law (PDF), introduced by the administration of former governor Babatunde Fashola, also restricted motorcycles or tricycles with engine capacities below 200cc from operating on major expressways and highways. It also stipulated that motorcycles used for mail distribution or courier services should have a minimum engine capacity of 200cc – all motorcycles used by the bike-hailing firms meet this standard.
It is left to be seen whether negotiations between major stakeholders and the government will lead to a shut down on the activity of the operators or whether Lagosians will have a better-organised commute.