BY FRIDAY ABASIFREKE EMMANUEL
Return of Okada – Lagosians are now reacting to the return of commercial motorcycles popularly known as Okada to some routes not long after it was banned by the state government.
The Okada operators appeared to have cashed in on the widespread caution on the part of uniformed men, following the last #AntiSARS protests, and also the bad state of roads for buses, to relaunch into business.
And with some road users, the story is more hopelessness and difficulty in moving about, hence they called on the government to provide alternative means of mobility if it would not unban bikes..
Philip Osu, a student said that the ban doesn’t make sense as it had put people through untold hardship.
“There is no good road and you are thinking of banning Okada that helps people avoid a lot of delays, isn’t that crazy? Honestly, I don’t have anything to say rather that it doesn’t make sense, this is where some people get to feed themselves and families.
“Not everyone has money for a cab, Okada helps such people. And in Lagos where there is a lot of traffic, Okada, has helped transportation become faster in cases where people have a quick appointment to catch up with.” Philip said
A resident of Omole, Phase 1 estate, Mr Ayodele said that the policy of banning commercial bikes was one that affects both the riders and the users.
– Return of Okada –
“I was hoping that the government would create alternatives for these people that they’ve taken food off their tables. This thing affects both riders and users. There is the Gokada and the O’ride, those ones are still kind of well-structured and safe to certain extents. They make use of their helmets and they’re regulated.
“If you’re saying that you are banning Okadas because of road accidents, how many deaths do you think you have caused due to bad roads? I think the bad roads are even more dangerous. Apart from accidents, they cause traffic”.
“Imagine when you have a flight to catch and the airport road is congested, we’ve had to jump bikes many times to beat traffic. As it is, traffic is going to get worse because there are going to be more cars on the road. They even said they’re bringing in more buses. To these bad roads? Selfish government!”, he declared.
A Computer Engineer, Ajayi Oluwafemi while reacting, said the government was on the right track to have banned okada.
He said his support for the policy stems from the fact that it had reduced accidents on the highways.
He added: “In as much as I don’t support the usage of okada and tricycles on the highways, I urge the government to find a lasting solution to the rate of unemployment in the country.
– Return of Okada –
“I studied Business Admin in one of the polytechnics and I wouldn’t have ventured into okada business if I was able to get a job, but truth be told, this business is risky.”
“The government has done well with the ban provided the restriction is limited to the highways and bridges. Many of these riders are untrained and end up endangering the lives of others through recklessness. The 2012 Traffic Law has been in existence but how many riders observe it? Though the enforcement will affect many people”. Oluwafemi said.
“The restriction of Okada and tricycles on major roads in Lagos State is a welcome idea because many innocent lives have been lost through Okada and tricycles on our highways” another resident, Iyabo Martins said.
According to her, “Some are in the hospital as a result of Okada accident. Although Okada is helpful for safety, let all riders register their names in their CDAs so that they can be monitored”.
In the words of fashion designer, Olarewaju Ellen, “Restricting Okada and tricycles in Lagos State is like closing down a major means of employment for a set of people. I think the state government should instill sanity and discipline in the mode of operation of these riders instead of banning them from major routes. So many families will suffer because those affected are breadwinners of their families.”
– Return of Okada –
Speaking further, she said: “The restriction is wicked, barbaric and totally against the common man whose means of survival depends largely on such means. What alternative source of income has the government created for those affected? Nothing!
“If this goes through, then the crime rate will continue to increase and the government and innocent citizens will suffer for the poor and thoughtless decision of the government.”
In his opinion a vehicle mechanic, who simply identified himself as Oladimeji, the ban did not consider the peculiarity of Lagos State in the sense of Okada being the fastest means of transportation.
He made reference to car owners sometimes, abandoning their cars and taking Okada to avoid missing important assignments.
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“I take Okada when going to purchase spare parts and it costs a lot of money but I have no choice. The primary responsibility of government is to deliver a good road network to its citizens”, he said.