Gokada, Max motorcyclists protest Lagos ban on motorcycles
Hundreds of motorcyclists on the platform of bike-haling services – Gokada and Max – are protesting the ban on the operations of commercial motorcycles in six local governments in Lagos.
The ban, which also affected tricycles, will come into effect on February 1 and covers over 50 roads and expressways in Nigeria’s commercial city.
The motorcyclists marched on Lagos State governor’s office in Alausa, Ikeja, on Friday, voicing their antagonism to the ban.
“Our jobs matter,” a placard brandished by the protesters says.
Despite questions around the legitimacy of the ban on bikes above 200 cubic centimetres, as prescribed by the Lagos State transportation reform law 2018, the state government insists bikes are not part of the “masterplan” for the city.
Lagos State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, insists the ban is in “compliance with the extant Transport Sector Reform Law 2018.”
He said the measures were taken in response to “scary figures” of fatal accidents recorded from operations of Okada and tricycles in the state between 2016 and 2019.
The state also defended the ban as necessary for security and safety especially as motorcycles and tricycles are known for a tendency to disregard traffic laws.
“But as far as I know, nobody has been licensed to go and start running Okada because it is unfortunate that…the rate at which people are dying; the rate at which people are being robbed on the roads; the police are worried, everybody is worried,” Omotosho said while speaking on Channels TV on Friday.
However, apart from the groaning from the riders, commuters have also expressed mixed feelings.
Critics say it is a harsh reality for investors of the bike-hailing companies and also means more hours in traffic in the city’s notorious gridlock. The ban will result in the loss of livelihood for the majority of riders, critics say.
Several others, however, hailed the government’s decision as it aligns with the primary goal of a good government – to protect loss of lives and properties. Several traffic robberies are aided by motorcyclists.
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