The Bible says In The Book of Exodus chapter 5 verse 1
” And Afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told pharaoh, Thus saith The Lord God Of Israel, Let my People Go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.
Saturday 20th October 2012 obviously looked like an exodus where a large number of lagosians were seen trekking to unknown destinations as if they wanted to go and hold a feast in the wilderness….although it was an evening of great surprises where going to the wilderness might exposes one to wild animals and reptiles, but we’ve gat no choice…
Not only were people angry of the fact that there was no easy access to transportation but also to the one who denied okada riders access to their daily bread, Bros BRF.
After a stressful day at the Liverpool soccer clinic in Lekki and in my office in ikeja, I decided to try my luck and look for a bike in abule egba to kola where i reside, Lo and Behold, i was at U turn before i realized i had walked past more than a thousand Nigerians who were all tired of waiting endlessly for a vehicle to take them to their various destinations. We all had no option than to dance to this popular tune that says “If the preferable is not available then the available should be preferable”.
You don’t need a prophet to tell you why people all over Lagos seemed to be deprived of what seems to be their daily routine in their day to day activities, its a course most people would not miss everyday, OKADA as it’s colloquially called in Nigeria.
Commercial motorcycle riders, popularly called Okada riders, under the aegis of Nigerians Auto Bike Commercial Owners and Workers Association, have said about 40,000 of its members will be forced out of business by the new Lagos State Traffic Law.
Commercial motorcycle operators in the state recently appealed to the government to defer the enforcement of the law to enable them to relocate their operations and families from the state.
The Chairman, Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ugo, at a recent sensitisation forum organised by the Ministry of Transportation said, “We are aware of the law. We have been trying to educate our members.
Please Note that this article is not to condemn the ban of Okada in Lagos, Neither is it published to encourage it the more, it’s just to share my experience of recent and publish what people think about the ban.
Meanwhile after many protests from the ACOMORAN, The Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, however said the government was not interested in frustrating people out of the state so what are they trying to do some people might want to ask, where the security guys in black have turned this into another avenue to gather enough money to send their children to school and you believe it won’t boomerang later? You might want to interprete what that means but am less concerned about whatever anybody thinks.
I was plying the Ikeja along road this afternoon where there was traffic from iyana ipaja, it was bumper to bumper. A pregnant woman was sighted strolling down the road hoping she would get a bike since fighting for a “danfo” would do her no good where a huge number of people are at the bus stop looking for a means of transportation to their destinations, i was almost in tears when i saw her at cement sweating profusely like someone who has be gang raped and just released, what if something happens to her pregnancy, what would become of her”? If she wasn’t used to the fastest means of transportation in the country, she wouldn’t have been looking for one.
This is the story of many lagosians everyday. What if i was not give a lift by my boss this morning after a broadcast production in Alagbado, i would have joined the legion of lagosians in the trek to the wilderness.
They declared total war on commercial motorcycle riders plying the 475 prohibited routes in the Lagos metropolis.
It said POLICE ENFORCEMENT of the ban was just a TIP OF THE ICEBERG of what would befall the riders still flouting government’s order that they avoid the prohibited routes. So Nigerians, Expect more arrests and more arrests in Lagos.
I wonder why you guys (Okada Riders) will not be arrested, some of you use the motorcycle as a means of crime, some people have been rendered useless, some are in Gbobi while some are even dead. Must we wait till this heightens? Well the fact remains that only GOD can help us out of this predicament.
What does Fashola think?
Speaking at the 2012 Annual Council of Prophets Convention of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church, Surulere District, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, to sensitise members of the church on the new road traffic law, Fashola said police action was just to test-run how the raid on okada riders would be.
The governor added that by the time officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI and other security agencies joined in the enforcement, there would be no hiding place for okada riders.
Fashola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, said total enforcement would soon begin, saying what was currently ongoing by the police was not full enforcement.
He stated that the thinking of the government was that by the end of this month, no okada rider should be seen on any of the prohibited routes, saying that government was more determined to enforce the ban.
According to Fashola, there were lots of jobs to do for okada riders that might lose their businesses, saying that many of them abandoned their vocational skills to make quick money through okada riding.
The governor told the gathering that the law was not meant to punish people but to sanitise and regulate the transportation system and by making people comply.
Fashola said the new law gave power to LASTMA to arrest anyone who flouted it as well as impose stipulated fines on erring members of the public.
He stated that the law recommend outright dismissal for LASTMA officials found to be corrupt in the course of performing their duties, as no one would be spared.
“Our plan is not to send people to jail but to make people comply,” he said, adding that beginning from January, commuter buses would only be allowed to ply the route routes they were registered to ply.
He vowed that any commercial bus caught plying routes they were not registered to ply would be impounded and the driver arrested and prosecuted.
The governor appealed to leaders of the church to educate their members to obey the traffic law, saying that they should preach it from the pulpit so that their members could obey the law.
“Talking in the church to members is one of the most effective ways to sensitise the people. The church should help us send the message to people to obey the traffic law. Let your driver go to the Lagos drivers institute to get certified,” he stated.
District Chairman and General Leader, Cherubim and Seraphim, Surulere District, Dr. Gabriel Fakeye, who was represented by the Deputy District Chairman, Senior Apostle J.A. Toriola, said the church would assist the state government in sensitizing members on the new traffic law and the need to obey the law.
Meanwhile, okada riders went on the rampage in various parts of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, today to protest the ban on them from plying 475 roads in the metropolis.
At Onipanu, on Ikorodu Road, the irate okada riders vandalised about 10 BRT buses during the violent protest against the Lagos State Government.
Okada riders stormed Onipanu area very early in the morning and vent their anger on BRT buses, destroying them.
Armed with sticks, iron roads and other dangerous weapons, the Okada riders hauled stones at BRT buses on Ikorodu road at Onipanu and Palmgrove bus stops.
There was pandemonium in the area and a team of policemen from the Rapid Response Squad, RRS was deployed to the area to quell the protest.
It was gathered that some arrests were made by the police but our reporter could not confirm the number of arrests.
Similarly, the riders also protested in Ikorodu and Ejigbo areas of the state this morning over the ban on them by government. In Ejigbo, the riders blocked the road, causing traffic jam in the area while they carried leaves and chanted anti-government songs.
They outrightly rejected the ban placed on them from plying 475 roads in Lagos, saying it would cripple their businesses.
Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide confirmed the protest, saying that the police moved in on time to quell the protest.
She said she could not confirm if arrests were made as at the time of filing this report, but said everything was under control.
People seem to support the sports loving governor while for others, the ban of okada won’t solve anything:
I happen to have been on both sides of the table; either by getting quickly to places on time by using commercial motorcycles –popularly known as ‘Okada’ here in Nigeria-or having to condone motorcycles when behind the wheel as a motorist. As a matter of fact, commercial motorcycles here in Nigeria can be likened to big pest/insects on the road; they reduce the limited spaces meant for full-size vehicles and they always come as a major source of discomfort for motorists who have to contend with their existence and all the whims of Okada operators.
However, on the flip-side, there are clear reasons why the Okada business is still lucrative for the operators and also why they still get a substantial level of patronage from the populace. In busy cities like Lagos, Okadas provide an alternative means of transportion at fairly cheaper rates as opposed to hiring taxis or indulging the services of cabs.
There have been countless outcry from groups clamouring for the ban of these ‘okadas’ in Lagos and also, the Government has created stiffer penalties and restrictions for defaulting motorcycles operators-which most of them interpret as telltale signs of their eventual ban as seen in cities like Portharcourt, Uyo and Abuja. In this article we will be exploring various angles of the topic at the hand and also state four reasons why totally banning Okadas at the moment won’t solve anything and might turn out to be counter-productive.
Keke-Napeps are just bigger Okadas : Years back in the city of Owerri in Imo state, the government of the day issued a ban on the use of commercial bikes with the intention to ease flow of traffic and reduce crime. To cushion the effect of the ban, various kinds of three-wheeled automobiles-popularly referred to as keke-napeps- were introduced to replace these bikes. The resultant effect due to the poor bus and taxi distribution network in the state was reliance on the ‘kekenapeps’, just as it were with the banned motorcycles. This eventually increased the average cost of transportation and traffic congestions within the city. Overtime, the distribution network of these three-wheeled motorcycles became better organized, but still the populace still have to face heavy traffic congestions especially during peak movement periods partly due to kekenapeps taking up much more larger spaces than average conventional motorcycles. Bad enough, these kekenapeps are operated by the same brains behind the operation of Okadas; with the same averagely crude mentality, hence creating bigger problems. So if you happen to be in the school of thought that label three-wheeled automobiles as a lasting solution, I think you should have a re-think.
Okadas are practical solutions: For the time being, commercial motorcycles are unarguably the most practical and easily accessible means of transportation which a fair chunk of the Nigerian population rely on. To prove this, even in all the cities that have ‘banned’ commercial motorcycles, Okadas are still allowed to operate in some areas not withstanding. Okadas cushion the lapses created by lack of proper (affordable) bus/taxi network distribution. Simply put, okadas get to where buses and cabs don’t get to at affordable rates which proves to be equally convenient for most people.
Okadas increase transportation options and alternatives: show me someone who has never taken a commercial bike and I am sure you have a highly detached individual from the realities of Nigeria and her societal and infrastructural deficiencies. It’s no news that Nigeria roads are constantly under enormous pressure all year round, due to the absence or ineffectiveness of other transportation alternatives. The Lagos state government has championed projects to ensure the viability of other alternatives to road transport, but with the geometric rise of population within the city, these efforts are still not enough. The more reason more avenues have to be explored and properly set-up before Okadas are completely wiped off the roads. Without a doubt, the introduction of commercial motorcycles back in the 1970’s was meant to be a temporal solution, but as it seems now, the population have permanently waited for better transport infrastructure.
Crime: these commercial motorcycles, just like cars and other automobiles can be instruments in perpetrating crime. The eventual increased rate of crime is inevitable if commercial motorcycles are banned, which will be primarily due to loss of jobs. This can be even worse taking account of their present struggles-all the confrontations, court cases. Banning them at the moment might even turn out to be negative psychological motivation for them to get back on the street as angry and begrudged unemployed set of individuals ready to indulge in crime to survive. The result will be negative ripple effects which will only add to the number of masses being unemployed.
Well for now, let me rest my case and see what happens tomorrow…what am i even saying, its almost closing time, let me quickly do this and find my way home…maybe before midnight i would have exercised my athletic prowess from Toyin street in ikeja to AIT road in Alagbado.
What would become of most of us that are not mobile? GOD PLEASE INTERVENE… just scroll down and look at the pictures below.