The National President of the Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle, Tricycle Owners, Riders, Repairers Association of Nigeria, Samsudeen Apelogun, has said commercial motorcycle riders have now become hopeless and hungry, following the ban on the commercial motorcycle operation (aka okada) in some areas in Lagos.
Saturday PUNCH reports that it has been 16 weeks and three days since the ban on the activities of commercial motorcycle operators in some areas in Lagos State.
Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announced a total ban on the operations of commercial motorcycles in some local government areas in the state with effect from June 1, 2022.
He made the pronouncement after a meeting with all Divisional Police Officers and Area Commanders in the state at the Lagos House, Ikeja.
The local governments and local council development areas affected by the ban are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa.
Later on in August, 2022, the government convened a forum of stakeholders to share the ‘good news’ about the progress made since June 1 full enforcement of the ban.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, disclosed that the crime rate reduced by 86 per cent, while the accident rate went down by 63.7 per cent.
During the period, 7,500 motorcycles were seized and crushed in line with the state’s laws.
The ban was further extended to four other more local government areas: Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Shomolu and Mushin with effect from September 1, 2022.
Reacting to this, Apelogun urged the government not to ‘throw the baby away with the bath water’.
He said most of the members in the affected areas were now begging to eat because they could no longer feed their families.
Speaking to our correspondent, he said, “The primary objective of the government is to protect lives and property of every citizen and make sure their well-being is so paramount to them, not sending 40 million Nigerians to the labour market that is already saturated.
“The ban is counter-productive as cutting the head will never be the cure of a headache. The idle hand is the devil’s workshop. The government needs to consider the lives of these okada riders. They cannot abandon them without any means of livelihood.
“Okada riders need micro-loans to be able to care for these people who have become unemployed now. Government needs to take care of them, not just to collect what they use to fend for themselves and their families.