Published On: Fri, Jul 10th, 2015

Reviving the Lagos okada ban


Commercial motorcyclists who cannot do without highways in Lagos metropolis will soon start getting it hot from the enforcers of the state’s traffic law if they do not refrain from the act, EMEKA EJERE, reports    

Recently the Lagos State Government in a bid to invigorate the traffic law in the state gave commercial motorcyclists (okada riders) in the state a 21-day ultimatum to leave restricted routes.

The law which aims at minimizing alarming rate of road accidents in the Lagos metropolis was grossly violated during the 2015 electioneering campaigns to the disappointment of many observers. The level of violation raised suspicion that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in its desperation for power may have relaxed the law not minding the debilitating implication to the society.

Immediate past governor of the state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, had on August 2, 2012 signed the Lagos Road Traffic Bill into law. The law prohibits the operations of commercial motorcyclists on 475 roads in the state. Mr. Fashola, while signing the bill into law, said it was to check the rising cases of accidents, especially the ones caused by the commercial motorcyclists. He also said the law would help to restore order to the roads.

The partial ban which came into effect on November 5, 2012, amid mixed reaction restricted the commercial motorcylists’ operations to the hinterlands where there was less vehicular traffic.

While some saw it as a step in the right direction, others saw it as shutting the means of livelihood of some Nigerians. Those who supported the law argued that it is only when one is alive that he talks about means of livelihood as those who have lost their lives to the recklessness of okada riders would have preferred a total ban if they had a second chance to live.

“Do you know how many people that have gone to their untimely graves today because of okada over-speeding on the highways? Ayodele Adeyemi, a secondary school teacher asked. He continued, “I took out time to visit the accident section of the National Orthopedic Hospoital, Igbobi, and I could not believe what I saw. Anybody who goes there and sees what okada has done to people will begin to advocate a total ban on it.”

But those against the law, on the other hand, argued that life is all about risk as no area of human endeavour is free from risk. For them isolating okada riders in this regard is only an injustice against a group perceived to be weak with little or no knowledge of their right. They also believe that apart from cutting down the income of the okada riders, the law will also bring untold hardship to many Nigerians who cannot afford taxi in areas that buses do not operate.

Mr. Uche Ogbonna, a spare parts dealer at the popular Ladipo Market, Mushin, disagrees with the government. He said government should stop disturbing people who have decided to help themselves to survive. For him government should be held responsible for the many lives lost as a result of okada accidents “because if they had created jobs, the number of people who see okada as a means of livelihood would have been reduced and the competition that causes the recklessness in the business would not have been there.”

However, findings have vindicated the Lagos State Government as the measure has translated into a significant reduction in okada-related accidents.

An annual report by the National Orthopaedic Hospital (NOH), Igbobi, released this year indicates a reduction in the rate of motorcycle accidents in the metropolis. The report was signed by the Chief Records Officer, Mr Samuel Karunwi, and made available to the press in Lagos.

The report shows that in 2013 there were 452 motorcycle accidents involving 273 males and 179 females.It showed that in 2014, there were 291 motorcycle accidents that involved 168 males and 123 females.

“In 2013, 60.4 per cent males and 39.6 females were involved in motorcycle accidents.

“However, in 2014, 57.7 per cent males and 42.3 females were involved in various motorcycle accidents.

“Comparatively, between 2013 and 2014 the rate of motorcycle accidents was reduced by 35.6 per cent on Lagos roads,” the report said.

Mr Sesan Adebara, an official of the Lagos State Accident and Emergency Service, said the reduction was due to the enforcement of the law banning commercial motorcycles from plying the highways.

He noted that the ban, slammed on the commercial motorcycle riders in Lagos was adequately enforced by the various traffic administrators in 2014, pointing out that the law enforcement agencies ensured zero tolerance for violation by riders.

But Lagosians were surprised seeing the level of violation of the law shortly before the 2015 elections, with officials of the various traffic agencies looking the other way.

An official of the the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), who does not want his name in print disclosed that a directive came from the top that they should soft-pedal on the enforcement of the traffic law.

“That is why you see commercial buses use the BRT lane without anybody victimizing them,” he said.

However, the state government last month met with okada unions at the state secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja,  where the ultimatum was given.

The Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Tunji Bello, who chaired the meeting, said the government decided to give the riders 21-day ultimatum for the unions to sensitise their members to vacate the restricted routes before enforcement would resume.

He said. “We have held a meeting with the okada unions on what should be done. We had a meeting with security agencies before now on the resurgence of okada riders on the highways.

“They said they thought that the government had relaxed the law;   there is no relaxation. We have decided to give them three weeks for enlightenment because we are not doing anything new; what we are doing is to re-enforce the law.”

Bello said when the law was introduced in 2012, okada accidents reduced.

He said, “We are not going back to that era again. For three weeks, they will educate their members on the need to leave the road. We need to save members of the public and the only way to do that is to restrict their movement and enforce our traffic law.”

On the semblance of relaxation of the law seen during the last election the SSG explained that it was done so that political parties would not capitalise on the enforcement for cheap political gains.

“We relaxed enforcement during the general elections because we didn’t want crisis and violence. We needed to avoid crisis at that time so that political parties would not capitalise on it. The enforcement will be in full force after three weeks. This is a law already in place and it has to be obeyed,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Oluseyi Coker, said the law restricting okada riders from major roads was still in force as the government had not suspended it.

He said, “We are doing this so that when we start enforcement, they will not say government did not caution them. The violation is much and we want the unions to educate their members.

“The Lagos State Government will do it right. We assure the residents that there will be normalcy on the road.”



© 2015, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Shippers’ council targets cost reduction at ports

    The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) says it will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with shipping companies on reducing the cost of doing business at ports to 35 per cent. The NSC Executive Secretary, Mr Hassan Bello, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja. He spoke on […]

  • For the records: President Buhari’s address at the 73rd UN General Assembly (Full speech)

    STATEMENT DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 73RD SESSION OF UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN NEW YORK, 25TH SEPTEMBER, 2018. Madam President, Fellow Heads of State and Government, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, On behalf of the Government and people of […]

  • ELAN’s National Lease Conference Focuses on Stimulating Valuable Investments for Sustainable Growth

    In furtherance of its objective of promoting the business of leasing in Nigeria, Equipment Leasing Association of Nigeria (ELAN) has concluded plans to organise the 16th Annual National Lease Conference with focus on the economy. The conference is the highest gathering of stakeholders in the leasing industry and a platform for brainstorming on issues pertinent […]

  •  KIAKIAFX partners TURTLEWAX BDC on FX transfers

    KiaKiaFX, an indigenous Fintech company has signed a technical services agreement with Turtlewax BDC to promote the sale of retail Foreign Exchange (FX) where customers can exchange FX from the comfort of their homes offices via desktop, tablet or mobile device. Speaking in Lagos, the Managing Director, KiaKia FX, Abisoye Coker, said the digital platform […]

  • RMB seeks improved awareness on financial inclusion

    The Chief Operating Officer of Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria (RMB), Mr. Funso Odukoya, has called for increased awareness on issues around financial inclusion in the country. Odukoya spoke during a panel session at the 2018 Annual National Conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), with the theme: “Banks, Fintechs and Nigeria’s Financial Inclusion […]

  • NDIC MD Emerges IADI Africa Regional Committee Chair

    The Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Umaru Ibrahim, has been elected the new Chairperson of the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI). Ibrahim was elected during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the IADI-ARC, which was a prelude to the IADI Technical Assistance Workshop being […]

  • Full Communique of MPC Meeting


  • MPC retains interest rate at 14% for 13th consecutive times

    The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday for the retained the Monetary Policy Rate unchanged at 14 per cent for the 13th time. The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, announced the decision of the committee at the end of a two-day meeting held at the apex bank’s headquarters in […]

  • 2018 budget: FG to sell 10 state-owned companies to raise funds

    The Federal Government may put up 10 state-owned companies for sale in the fourth quarter of 2018 to raise N289 billion for the funding of the 2018 budget, Joe Anichebe, a director at the Bureau of Public Entreprises (BPE), has disclosed. Anichebe said preparations are in the final stages for the sales of the companies, […]

  • FG to sell 10 public assets in Q4 2018

    The Federal Government has concluded plans to sell 10 government-owned companies for sale to selected investors and the public in the fourth quarter to raise N289 billion toward funding the 2018 budget,Bureau of Public Entreprises (BPE) has disclosed. According to Bloomberg report, preparations are in the final stages to begin the sale of the companies […]

  • Modric defeats Ronaldo, Salah to emerge FIFA’s Footballer of the Year 2018

    Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric has been named the Best Men’s Player at The Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday evening, fighting off competition from fellow nominees Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah. The award caps off an incredible year for Modric, who won his fourth Champions League title with Real Madrid in May, […]

  • Nigerian bond market witnesses low demand

    A slowdown in client demand characterizes the bond market on Monday, unlike sentiments witnessed for the most part of last week. This is on the back of expected renewed supply at the bond auction on Wednesday, where the Debt Management Office (DMO) would raise a total of N90billion from the 2023, 2025 and 2028 maturities. […]

  • Oil price climbs to four-year high as Saudi, Russia turn Trump down

    Oil prices have hit a four-year high of over $81 a barrel after Saudi Arabia and Russia rejected calls by Donald Trump to increase production. Brent crude hit its highest level since November 2014 at $81.16 a barrel, up 3 per cent on the day. Saudi Arabia led the c oil cartel, while Russia is […]

  • Buhari releases N22bn to Nigerian Airways retirees

    The Federal Government has released N22.68 billion to settle part of the retirement benefits of former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways. The government has also approved the release of N20 billion to revitalise public universities in line with demands of the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU). Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, made the disclosure […]

  • MPC set for another policy freeze

    By FELIX OLOYEDE Despite the outcry for lower domestic interest rates, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to leave the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 14 per cent as it responds to inflation jitters ahead of the 2019 general elections, say economists. The MPC meeting schedule to hold today, Monday 24th 2018 and Tuesday […]

  • Ambode fights for his political life

    By OBINNA EZUGWU It is no longer news; the political love affair in Lagos state is in trouble. For the first time since 1999, a sitting governor is facing a real challenge from his own party for the ticket. The indignity can only be imagined and its implications continue to reverberate across the state and […]