Updates On The Ban Of Okada/Keke In Lagos
By Hope Samson & Jude Chukwuemeka
- Alesta Wilcox - Chartered Account/Public Affairs Analyst.
- Famuyiwa Oyewole - Secretary, Okada Riders Operators Association of Lagos.
- Yusuf Adekunle - Okada rider/member Okada Riders Operators Association of Lagos.
Do you agree?
LAGS Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso said the rate of crimes aided by Motorcycles (okada) and Tricycles (Keke) keeps rising.
Would okada & keke ban truly help beef up security in Lagos?
Talking about the traffic laws in Lagos, Famuyiwa says the following: The traffic law started with the Former Governor, Babatunde Fashola. During the time, there were two sections of the law, which we called “Sect 1&2”. ‘Sect 1’ comprises of all the bridges and the highway while ‘Sect 2’ includes the streets of Lagos. We obeyed the traffic law and now some roads have been included in the restriction without our consent. We were always called during the former regime to rub minds before any form of change is implemented but not anymore.
There is a need for youths in Lagos to do more than ride okada or keke Maruwa as means of living in the state. Lagos State government wants them to channel their strengths to other more productive areas of life.
Yusuf Adekunle talks about why he started riding okada in Lagos:
I am a graduate from Obafemi Awolowo University. As a graduate, when you look out there for a job and it’s not forth coming, you know what to do next. “Not all okada riders are illiterates, using myself as an example. This is what I do for a living. You cannot think that an educated person riding okada doesn’t know what he is doing. He’s got people back home to feed. The first ban during Fashola’s regime was bridges and highways but the law enforcement officers go beyond this into the streets to harass riders. I was coming from home on Monday and saw these officers going into the streets, beating up the riders and getting their bikes from them.
For Adekunle, this will affect him badly.
Famuyiwa chips the following: "As regards time, during the regime of Tinubu, popularly known as Jagaban, we were restricted from working during the hours of 10pm -6am. Maybe that was what you saw."
Alesta Wilcox refers to the situation as being pathetic:
Well, very pathetic. When I heard the Commissioner speak on Tuesday what flashed through my mind was “ When the Holy Book says we should pray for our leaders, I think people take it lightly because the laws that are made by the leaders can either make or mar you as an individual.”
Sometimes people just wake up on the wrong side of their beds and make far reaching decisions as leaders that maybe due to their ego or status in life they do not understand that there is a total disconnect from the real people that they ought to look after. There are two sides to a coin. The commissioner wheeled out some funny statistics. And when he was saying that about 600 people died from okada accidents. I asked myself, “how many have died from malaria infection?” So why haven’t the Lagos state government proscribed all the mosquitoes in Lagos? Of course, malaria killed far more people than any other thing would have killed.
I am not a friend of okada riders. I must be very clear. Because if I have had any issue with my car on the road, my side mirror is broken or my bumper is hit, it was caused by an okada man. So, I am not here to defend their recklessness, ineptitude or their disobedience to the rule of law. Wemimo you asked very germane questions yesterday which I had to park my car to listen attentively to the program on Tuesday which was quite instructive. You asked for the alternative measures put in place after confirming that the bike riders are nuisance and should be off the road. I observed two things from the commissioner’s speech. “One, he is not convinced of what he is saying and he was told to come say something”. Because he doesn’t have actual facts or responses to most of the questions asked. “He was being economical with the truth.”
Yusuf: The best way to go about this is to make sure that the traffic laws are obeyed. In our own way, we educate our members to obey these laws on a weekly and monthly basis.
Famuyiwa: Yes, truly the bike riders are non-indigenes. The government do not yield to the programme laid down by our association. Before a person can ride okada in Lagos, he must have a rider’s card that includes his data base. Our association used to accredit all riders when it all started but not anymore.
Famuyiwa says there are over 50,000 registered okada riders. “We are meeting with the National Union chairman, MC Oluomo and our own chairman by 10am to fine-tune on what we want to do. But we urge our riders to be patient until our communique is out.”
Yusuf: I think he lost count. They are over 120,000 registered okada riders.
Wilcox: Something came to my mind this morning while I was having my bath. “Every government policy is targeted towards benefitting somebody who wants to introduce something new. A few days from now, you will discover something will come out. That is how government policies work in this country. They are sectional and biased.
Look, I am a defender of this government even though I have been labelled with so many names but on this issue, we may need to protest. This is where the Labor union needs to wake up because there are commuters that use this means of transportation to work every day. The areas where these crimes are being committed are not enlisted in the ban.