NANS, operators fault government, say ban on okada insensitive
Ahead of the February 1 take-off date for the ban of motorcyle and tricycle operations in 15 local councils in Lagos State, more criticisms have continued to trailed the state government’s pronouncement. A coalition of operators leveraging technology within the moto-taxi industry has faulted the position of the state and urged the government to rather commence the regularization of the sector as against outright ban.
Also, the South West Zone of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has berated Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for banning motorcycle and tricycle operators in some parts of the state. The NANS Coordinator for Zone D, Kowe Odunayo Amos, said: “It is disappointing and pure irresponsibility for a government to ban peoples’ jobs and not create another in replacement.”
Speaking yesterday at a press conference jointly addressed by Metro Africa Xpress (MAX.ng) and Gokada, the co-founder and CEO of MAX.ng, Mr. Adetayo Bamiduro, noted that they have since inception complied with the Lagos State rules guiding commercial motorbike operations in the state.
His words: “The government’s spokesperson relied on the Lagos State transport sector reform law 2018 as the legal backing for this decision. The referenced law restricts motorcycles from operating on major highways in the state but however makes an exception for motorcycles with engine capacity above 200cc. This has always being a guideline for our operations and investments as we have always operated in compliance with all existing laws, including compliance with engine capacity requirements”.
Bamiduro further maintained that all their motorcycles “are 220cc engines, a 10 per cent premium above the regulatory requirement”. Collaborating Bamiduro’s statement, the Pilot Operations Manager at Gokada, Victor Daminabo, noted that they are also fully compliant with the provisions of the law prohibiting the operations of motorcycles without rider and passenger helmets amongst others.
Bamiduro stressed that government was wrong in lumping them alongside the informal unregulated operators as since operation last year, the company has had zero fatalities. “To keep them safe physically and mentally, our drivers are provided with smartphones, accident insurance, two helmets, branded clothing, and first aid equipment. Both drivers and passengers have accident insurance and the drivers, in addition, have functional HMOs.”
Daminabo also said his company has had over 20,000 rides with no fatalities. He insisted that the company was also paying its taxes to the government as riders paid levies to the National Union of Road Transport Workers as directed by the state.
Bamiduro said reputable international firms, including Novastar Ventures, Alitheia Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Yamaha and MasterCard, had invested a lot of money into the business and would be worried by the government’s decision.