Nigeria’s economic capital, Lagos State Government reported that it has crushed about 2000 motorcycles otherwise known as “Okada” bikes.
This is part of its efforts to enforce a ban on commercial motorcycles across the state. The enforcement of the ban commenced on the first of June 2022 in six Local Governments and nine Local Council Development Areas in Lagos.
The motorbikes were seized from operators who allegedly flouted the rules of the state government following the controversial ban. According to the state government, about 21 people have been charged to court for flouting the ban.
According to Chairman of the Lagos State Taskforce, CSP Shola Jejeloye, that enforcement will be intensified in the coming week, and in an apparent warning informed operators that “recalcitrant motorcyclists waiting for the enforcement team to weaken its resolve on the Okada ban are wasting their time and that the Lagos State Task Force will live up to its responsibility” suggesting more bikes will be destroyed.
Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, also commented on the development stating that “the government’s commitment to the safety and security of lives and property, stressing that crushing the bikes shows that the government is not rescinding its decision on the policy.”
Critics of the ban have accused Lagos State of attacking poor people who rely on motorbikes as a source of living.
However, Mr. Omotosho appeared to address this concern stating that “affected riders may also consider enrolling at any of the vocational centres across the State or access the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to explore other fields of work, maintaining that Okada is not a safe means of commercial transportation and does not fit into the transportation policy of the State.”
Lagos State mentioned during the week that its ban on commercial motorcyclists, otherwise known as Okada riders, has recorded 85% compliance in the last 3 days.
The ban on Okada was first announced to commence on February 1, 2020 however, it was not enforced until now. The state government maintains that the enforcement is long overdue.
Lagos State also said the first three days of enforcement is just to test-run it, to check the number of compliance, then the sustainability plan is the next phase, which we are going to enter on Monday.’’