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Lagos cabinet member-designate Joe Igbokwe speaks against bike-hailing firms

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The spokesperson of the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress Joe Igbokwe Wednesday said bike-hailing service is not sustainable in a densely populated state like Lagos.

“Call it ‘bike-hailing start up’ or whatever, okada na okada… it is not sustainable in a city of high density population Lagos,” Igbokwe said in a Facebook post.

Lagos, Nigeria’s second most populated state and its commercial capital, has about 12 million residents living in  3,577 square kilometres.

With more than 5 million vehicles on its roads, some of which are terrible shape, gridlocks are commonplace. Commercial motorcycles usually provide the easiest way for a lot of residents to escape from the traffic jam.

But the frequent fatal accidents, recklessness of motorcyclists and increasing of motorcycles in robbery incidents forced the state to ban motorcycles from plying 520 highways and roads in 2012.

But in 2019, the use of motorcycles on Lagos roads, where there are about 227 cars per kilometre* (11 cars per kilometre is the national average), became refined with the entrance of bike hailing companies such as Gokada, Max Okada and ORide.

Such refinement included branding of motorcycles, uniforms for riders, insurance cover and use of helmets by riders and passengers and training of the riders by professional safety experts.

In recent months, the three companies secured funding to expand their businesses into other cities.

Such funds, Igbokwe said, should have been invested in the Bus Rapid Transit operated by the Lagos State government.

Igbokwe noted that if allowed free rein to operate, bike-hailing service will “jeopardise” the government’s investment in BRT.

“Instead of partnering with govt on BRT, you invested “5.3 million dollars” in okada business and expect that Lagos state will allow you jeopardise its muliti-billion (sic) naira mass transit investments.”

It is not clear if Igbokwe, who is set to be appointed as a member of Lagos State executive council, spoke for the state government, but there were rumours that the state might place a N25 million naira annual levy on all bike-hailing companies operating in the state.


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