Impact Of Okada Ban In Lagos

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February 1, 2020 is a day that virtually every Lagos State resident will not forget as it was on this day that the law made by the state’s government to shut down activities of every form of motorcycles and tricycles in key local government areas as well as important commercial areas took effect.

To put it more comprehensively, the Lagos State government restricted these kind of vehicles (except Motorcycles used for delivery services) from operating in key areas, a move that was praised by some as the intentions of the government is pretty much logical, but it has also received huge criticism most especially from the masses.

The topic trended massively on all social media platforms with the Twitter folks dropping their views and opinions with the hashtag #OkadaBan. Most people aren’t happy with the ban, of course there are advantages, but then it was badly timed and totally unprepared for.

However, we can’t deny the fact that the move has its own advantages and Lagos State is definitely not the first state to have experienced such a decision as there are other states in the country where motorcycle operations are also limited. But the major question is: Why is it and why is it not a good decision for the Lagos State government to ban Motorcycles and Tricycles in the State?

One thing that is certain about this entire issue, something that we can’t deny is that for Lagos State to achieve its goal of becoming the first class and well-developed Mega City, something must be done about the operation of motorcycles and tricycles.

With the manner at which some Okada men carry out their activities on the road, it would be very unlikely that Lagos State can cross a very crucial phase of attaining sustainable development in promoting orderliness on the highway and for that, these motorcycles should be taken off the road.. or at least regulated. Yes, that’s the word – Regulate! We’ll get to use that word a couple of times as the article continues.

Aside from its aim of attaining the “developed” status, the banning of these Okada and tricycles also positively affect the society, although in a way that seemingly doesn’t count very much.

There have been a huge number of lives that have been lost due to the recklessness of riders as well as the extreme fragility of these vehicles, you see a bike trying to pass through the slimmest of pathways in-between two cars, even trailers.. sometimes with dangerous amount of speed, this is extremely risky and have led to many people being irrevocable injured and disabled and have caused thousands of death in the past decade. No doubt, the banning of these vehicles will reduce the amount of accidents on the road, a lot.

Safety and security! That’s the reason the Governor gave for banning these vehicles. We’ve talked about safety, now security. It’s the truth that some citizens make use of these vehicles to commit crimes but then, it’s only normal for a State with over 10 million people to have stories of bad guys snatching bags with bikes.. and to be perfectly honest with you, it’s a rarity to hear about cases where Keke Napep have been used for serious criminal activities. However, it’s still a valid reason for the action.

Lagos will look more developed! More orderliness! Safer! More secure! It’s the truth only if you look at it from one angle. If you looked at this situation from a bigger picture, you’ll realise that indeed, it is more of a bad decision to ban Okada and Keke than it is a good decision, the major reason being its effects on the masses.

The number of motorcycle riders and Keke drivers in Lagos State is huge, most of these people have this job as their only source of livelihood, their only means of feeding their families and the government just took it away from them with a snap of the finger.

This counters the government’s “Security” reason as some of these men will fall back to the streets and seek to get this money by hook or crook due to lack of qualification or patience to secure another job. Crime rate will increase, armed robbery, social vices.. it just is a nightmare if you think about it.

Lagos is a mega city with little land area mass. It’s the smallest State in the country by land area and holds the highest number of people. A lot of these people need to report to their various places of work as early as possible and some drop their cars at a point and use these motorcycles and tricycles to beat traffic and have faster journeys, now it’s no more.

There will be more cars in the street, leading to heavy gridlocks as already seen during these last few days since the ban took effect. This will affect productivity adversely and depreciate the States economy. The people who don’t have cars will have only buses as choice and these buses will hike the fares, making life harder for the average man. There are also some routes that buses don’t ply, only motorcycles, meaning citizens will have to trek to their destinations, such hardship.

The disadvantages can continue for the whole day, you don’t build a mega city by shutting down the poor, they are a crucial part of that endeavour. This ban affects virtually everything and everybody as it’s the kind of lifestyle Lagos State citizens are used to.

The vulcanizer on the street, the roadside food seller, the mechanics.. even private motorcycle companies like Gokada have experienced severe problems as a result of this ban. Their workers have been rendered jobless as the company had no choice than to fire riders as they plan on making it a delivery company.

Conclusively, the idea by the government is a good one, but it just isn’t the right time. Lagos State isn’t ready for such a massive decision and if it were to be, it shouldn’t have been in effect as swiftly as it was, there should’ve been proper planning regarding the lives of the commoners and average citizens, there should have been proper alternative to counter the terrible effects it will leave.

Or better still, they shouldn’t have been banned at all, but REGULATED! Regulation would’ve been better, say give them laws, lanes, areas, operation times.. it would’ve been better than to just make such a move in the twinkle of an eye. It’s really sad the government are still standing strong on its decision, well, Lagosians are survivors and in due time, they’ll adapt.

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