The Lagos State Government has said the reason Gokada, Oride, MAXOkada and other bike-hailing startups are affected by the ban on tricycles and bikes is because they are part of the problem.
The problem being high rate of crimes and accidents recorded as a result of the operation of bikes and tricycles in the State between 2016 and 2019.
Barely hours till the restriction on tricycles and bikes from operating in some parts of Lagos come into effect (February 1, 2020), the State Government tried to address some of the questions people have been asking via Twitter.
1. Why Are Gokada, MAXOkada, Oride and other bike-hailing startups affected by the ban?
They have also been found to be part of the problem. The truth is that Okada, no matter what fanciful name it's called, is not part of the Greater Lagos journey on which we have embarked. Our youths no longer learn the trade we used to be proud of—tailoring, bricklaying, printing, painting and others. Now we get artisans from neighboruing countries. Okada is not an enduring trade.
This explanation is akin to the thought shared by Engr. Joe Igbokwe, Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage and Water Resources, on August 14, 2019, on his Facebook page.
Engr. Joe said: "Instead of partnering with government on BRT, you invested '5.3 million dollars' in okada business and expect that Lagos State will allow you jeopardise its multi-billion naira mass transit investment. Call it 'bike-hailing startup' or whatever, okada na okada...it's not sustainable in a city of high density population [like] Lagos."
Coincidentally, this was the same period the State Government mooted the idea of charging bike-hailing startup a N25 million licensing fee. But the news was later debunked and the idea quashed.
According to figures released by MAXOkada, there's been no record of fatality by its champions (riders) and it has completed over two million trips.
The Poll and the Comments did not Lie. User feedback was accurate. All the Max bikes waited. Some Gokadas did. Some didn't.— Gossy Ukanwoke (@gossyomega) November 12, 2019
The others, Lol
Consequently, the Transport Hailing Alliance of Nigeria (THAN) is propesting the sanction. There's a petition raised by the riders of Gokada, MAXOkada and Oride pleading for regulation rather than ban. There was also a peaceful rally to the State House in Ikeja.
2. Why didn't you let the alternatives come before sacking the motorcycles?
That is a logical question but the picture is horrible, bloody and scary. The government will not stand by and watch this bloody encounters to continue. Besides, the security of lives of Lagosians are of paramount interest to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu's administration. This is why it is moving to stop this fast slide into lawlessness.
The State Government plans to roll out more (shuttle) buses to the areas affected by the ban.
3. How about young people who will be thrown out into the labour market?
The government says there are programmes for the unemployed. Programmes such as Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) is very active, helping many to set up their businesses with cheap funds. The Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has also been doing so much training [for] young women in various trades and giving them some money to set up. Civic Engagement has empowered many to start small scale businesses.
4. Won't crime go up?
According to the State Government, there would be no increase in the rate of crime. "Okada has been used by criminals to rob and terrorise innocent citizens," the statement reads. "When it was banned in Kano and Edo, for instance, crime rates dropped. The law enforcement agencies are ready to fix anybody who wants to take to crime because he has lost his Okada job."
Meanwhile, there are reports that some areas not affected by the ban are pleading with the State Government to add their local government to the ban list. The Punch Newspaper reported on January 30, 2020, that the residents of Ajao Estate in Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area have appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to ban commercial motorcycle in their community.
This is one of the bane of the executive order to restrict the operation of tricycles and bikes in some parts of Lagos State. It doesn't only conflict with extant 2018 Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, the ban is not well-thought out and it's faulted with miscommunication.