By Benjamin Omoike
As the February 1 enforcement deadline beckons, operators of motorcycles and tricycles, popularly known as Okada and Keke, are apprehensive that the recent ban on their operations by the Lagos State Government will have telling effects on their economic well-being.
The State Government had on Monday announced a total ban on Okada and Keke operation in 15 Local Governments as well as major highways and bridges as a means to regulate their activities, which had hitherto left most parts of the state in chaos.
The ban also affects the business of Okada hailing operators, including Gokada and Opay, which Lagosians had embraced to beat traffic on Lagos roads.
Some affected operators and residents in the state, most of whom lamented the decision by the government, said that it remained to be seen how such ban could be enforced without alternatives, adding that it would have negative security and economic implications.
An operator, who gave his name as Saliu and operates within the Ikeja axis expressed disappointment with the decision, saying that his means of livelihood was about to be taken away from him.
“I don’t think this is right because many of us depend on this Okada riding to provide food for our families. And if we are not allowed to operate within these Local Government Areas as mentioned by the state government, then we are in trouble.”
Sharing Saliu’s view, his counterpart, Emmanuel described the development as a bitter pill to swallow, saying that as much as it would affect their daily income, urging the government to have a rethink.
For Gabriel, government had shown its insincerity with the decision, saying that it was unfair to slam such ban on them after using them during the 2019 elections.
“I still don’t understand why the Lagos State Government would enforce such law that will now restrict us from plying some major roads in the state. Mind you, during the 2019 election, they used us as an instrument in canvassing the people to vote for them. Is this how they want to repay us,” Gabriel fumed.
“Governor Sanwo-Olu should have to rethink his decision of enforcing a law that could probably increase the crime rate in the state because, with this law, many of us will be arrested”- Ajayi, Ikeja.
“I must commend the Lagos State Government for enforcing the new law that bans Okada rider and other tricycles from plying certain routes in the state. However, have they created alternative jobs for those people that will be affected? See my brother, I just hope this new law won’t backfire on Lagosians.”- Ibikun, Berger.
“The truth is, the Lagos State Government has not done well with the enforcement of the new law that bans Okada riders from six local government areas. Besides, if the ban is to reduce the rate of accidents in the state, will that totally curb some of the road accident we witness every day? Let us wait till February 1st to see what awaits us the Okada riders.” – Hakeem, Ojodu.
“I am really against the ban of Okada riders from the six local government areas by the Lagos State government. This will further increase the rate of crime in the state.”- Ahmed, Ojodu.
“Where exactly are we heading to in this state called Lagos State? I don’t think the ban of Okada riders from major roads in the state would solve the rate of road accidents as painted by some people in government.” – Kingsley, Oshodi.
“This Okada business that I have been doing for some years to feed my family could just be coming to an end because we make more money when we ply some of these major roads in the state. If we are now restricted to work within streets, how much then do you think we’ll make in a day? I want the government to have a rethink of this law.” – Taiwo, Oshodi.
“We Okada riders are in for a very tough time with the Lagos State government decision to enforce a ban that will stop us from accessing certain roads in the state. For me, this may not be business as usual again.” – Jacob, Itire.
“The government has done nothing to improve our lives yet, the only Okada business that we use to survive they want to take it away from us. This is not fair.” – Jamiu, Itire.