Okada Ban: CACOL Chides Lagos Govt, Says It Will Take Away People’s Means Of Livelihood

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has chided Lagos state government for proscribing the operations of okada and tricycle riders in some local government (lga) and local council development areas (lcdas) of the state, adding that the fire brigade approach will not solve the problem it meant to solve.

In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Adegboyega Otunuga, the anti-corruption organization’s Coordinator, Media and Publications on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “With bated breath, we received the news of the restrictions on the operating module of okada (motorcycle) and tricycle (kekeMarwa) riders in Lagos, to the effect that they are barred from operating in six (6) local government and nine (9) local council development areas of the state; including 10 major highways, 40 bridges and flyovers across the state. The directive was given in line with 2018 Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, while the Spokesman for the state government, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, reckoned that enforcement of said law becomes germane considering ‘scary figures’ of fatal accidents recorded from okada and tricycle operators and undue traffic jams on our roads.  

“While we appreciate the flipside of condoning the operations of this mode of transportation in a largely cosmopolitan city like Lagos, we make bold to state that this path of resolving the crisis of transportation in Lagos was nothing new, even though each time respective governments in the state woke up to this realization, it has yielded more pains than relief the law or policy set out to achieve for the teeming population of private and public workers and others in the state. The rationale for this controversy is not far-fetched as it simply shows that the ban failed to address the causative factors that are responsible for such needs in the first instance, while the approach towards taming the debilitating factors attendant to their operations are only always punitive to all parties, rather than broker relief to the ordinary Lagosians who struggle, daily, to navigate most of the deplorable roads in their cars or anxiously wait at different bus-stops endlessly for vehicles to convey them to their places of destination for their daily survival.

“As we oftentimes posit, the primary purpose of any government/s whatever levels, is for the security and welfare of majority of its people. This is why governance must not at any rate be reduced to ‘fire-brigade or reactionary arrangement’ solely aimed at attracting attention to a burning fire without addressing the source and effective extermination of same. This is why, in not too distant past, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, had prescribed an holistic remedy to the incessant problems of traffic congestion, preventable road accidents, and even incidences of coveting same okada and keke Marwa as avenues for getaway by criminals, could all be jointly addressed through an all-round conversation around them by veritable stakeholders, after which an effective and all-encompassing solution would have been arrived at.”

The CACOL Boss added, “Aside the fact that many children are today receiving education and surviving by such harrowing means in a nation that lacks social welfare for its citizens, its advent has also been responsible for reduction in rate of crime. This is not to say we could not regulate their operations while the state and federal governments tackle the general miasma that led to the need for their inevitability in the first instance. To all intent and purposes, motorcycles or tricycles are veritable means of transportation in most countries of the world; only thing is that, the traffic officers are more alive to their responsibilities than we are in ensuring that they, like trailer drivers, truck drivers and others adhere strictly to necessary traffic laws and are sanctioned where they willfully breach such. There are instances many heavy duty vehicles create avoidable danger/s to other road users than okada or kekeMarwa riders by parking indiscriminately or driving against traffic, etc. ‘One Chance and other robbery incidents are usually carried out by commercial car users/kabukabu while there are no verifiable statistics that confirm that road accidents would suddenly disappear by eliminating these means of transport in Lagos. What all this shows is that problems associated with transportation in an ever-evolving megacity like Lagos, is too complex for such arbitrary approach as evidences abound that even before the February 1, deadline given for the disappearance in most of Lagos roads, hijacking and destruction of their okada, Marwa tricycles and unbridled extortion have been the order of the day by law enforcement agents as we speak.”  The statement said.

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