As the economic capital of Nigeria, Lagos has, since Independence, become the most congested city in Nigeria. The hustling and bustling of Lagosians, as popularly known, has made many people result in taking motorcycles (okada) as their fastest means to get to their destinations.
But the government of Lagos state holds a different opinion about the continuous dominance of okada riders on Lagos highways, causing more harm than good.
The ban on okada in Lagos came into effect on the 1st of June, 2022, and there have many divergent opinions about the government’s decision.
In an interview with Sun Daily on Channels Television, the Commissioner for information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said there were many complaints from doctors saying people were constantly coming for Okada-related emergencies.
He said about 1,712 accidents have been recorded in Lagos in the first quarter of this year. Out of this figure, about 45 percent; to be precise, 767 of the accidents were caused by Okada. And it is shocking to know that about 54 percent of the victims are between 30 and 39. These are our able-bodied young people who are getting cut down like that all because they mounted okada,” he says.
Effect of Okada Ban
In everything that has been done, there are good and bad consequences for it, and the ban is Not left out. The ban has brought about a reduction of accidents by motorcycles which in the first place was the reason for the ban.
Also, it brought about orderliness and quietness to the area. In an interview with a student of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Adun Majaagun, after her field research on okada riders in Ikeja Lagos, said that the atmosphere in the area was different. There were no commercial motorcyclists on the main road, only designated dispatch riders and cars.
Adun said, “although there was a little traffic but was fasting easing because there was no okada to disrupt the flow.”
Trying to curb the rate of accidents happening with motorcycles is one thing. Stripping people off their job without replacement is another. Motorcycle riders are people who can’t fend for their families even with what they earn as a rider says more when they are not. Government should provide jobs for them before enforcement.
Most okada riders are immigrants from another state. Not having a job now would lead them into crimes like armed robbery. Even the people from the state are not left out in devouring into fraudulent activities.
Thus, the ban puts the state in danger because the higher the crime rate, the less safe the city becomes for the people.
An American lawyer and politician, Luther Strange, said: “a job is the best cure for poverty and that is why economic development and job creation have been my principal focus.”
Need for Urgent Wayout
The Lagos state government should provide jobs for the okada riders. For an idle man is the devil’s workshop. Also, the people laid off from work should try learning a new skill or venture into a new business.