Okada Ban in Lagos: Plight on Commercial Operators
The 1st of February 2020 saw the ban restricting all form of motorcycles and tricycles (excluding those used for delivery services) in key commercial and residential areas of the state by the Lagos State government come to action.
Though well-intentioned, the timing and blanket nature of this ban have left much to be desired.
Reasons Given by the Government
One of the reasons given by the government for imposing the ban was the uprising of insecurity within the state. The government said that most crime done in the state made use of motorcycles popularly known as okada and that individuals have been robbed on many occasions inside the tricycle popularly known as Keke Napep.
Another reason was the crippling traffic gridlocks in most part of the state which the government argued that the commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists have contributed greatly to this due to their disregard for traffic regulations.
The real cause of the traffic
One of the main issues faced in the state currently is the population explosion with the existing road networks incapable of accommodating the daily influx of vehicles and people relocating to the state from other part of the country. This is the major cause of traffic gridlock in the state.
Impact of the Ban on commercial Operators
These commercial operators including individual owners of motorcycles, tricycles and ride-hailing startups like Opay, Gokada, Oride etc provide easy transportation for commuters in Lagos State especially during traffic gridlocks. They ensure that individuals arrive at their destination on time thus saving the country person-hours that would have been lost in traffic. In addition, they keep hundreds of thousands of low-skilled Lagosians away from crime by providing them with a legitimate source of income.
With the ban being implemented, thousands who depend on motorcycles as a source of livelihood suffer greatly as their source of income has been taken away from them. After the ban, many complained of not being able to break even again. According to the representative of Gokada, Adegbola, the ban put the business under threat.
More so, consistency and stability attracts investors to a country or in a business but inconsistency and instability make them flee. Investors who invested their money on motorcycle-based ride-hailing startups in the state like ORide (OPay), MAX and Gokada who are all affected by the ban would now be counting their losses.
Traffic congestion in Lagos still remains a major issue yet unsolved. The ban still did not address the traffic gridlock issue in the state. From 3rd February 2020, the state has experienced uprising traffic gridlocks and sometimes rise in transport fares.
Nigerians, most especially residents, businesses and organizations in Lagos wants the state to be the proposed mega city but these same people want to be able to cater for their needs, get to their office on time and not have to trek miles which can be prevented. In simple terms, lagos transport infrastructure is not fit for the magga city that it wants to be.