By Oluwatope Lawanson
The Lagos State Government has reaffirmed its decision to ban commercial motorcycles (okada) and tricycles (keke) on major roads in Lagos metropolis.
In a statement issued by his office on Friday, the state Deputy Gov. Obafemi Hamzat said that the government was determined to reduce accidents and vices associated with the use of motorcycles and tricycles.
Hamzat said that the ban would promote security of lives of Lagos residents.
He said the government took the decision after evaluating the rate of crime and accidents recorded in the state.
“It is not to punish anybody or restrict people from doing certain jobs; the reality is that people are dying, security of our children is being compromised, and the government must act.
“What this administration is doing is just to enforce the law that the House of Assembly passed which must have been vigorously scrutinised.
“The ban is in accordance with the Lagos State Transport Reform Law of 2012. The law that has been in existence since 2012,” he said.
Hazmat noted that the law was revised in 2018.
“The law says that commercial motorcycles and tricycles are restrained from plying major highways, certain roads and all bridges,” he said.
“The law was revisited due to the scary figures of fatal accidents in the state as against the claims that the ban was targeted at anyone or group.
“We have 27 general hospitals in Lagos and close to 3,000 private hospitals.
” Using the statistics from the general hospitals alone, an average of 28 deaths related to okada are recorded monthly. It is therefore important for us as a government to act.”
He said that since the ban, the rate of accidents on Lagos roads had significantly reduced.
The deputy governor said motorcycles and tricycles were being used by some unpatriotic citizens as tools for crime such as theft and drug trafficking.
He said that the modes of transportation were becoming avenues to commit crimes and the government would not wait until major disasters would happen before acting.
“We get calls through our emergency control centres as early as 6:00a.m. from people going to work who are being robbed and harassed through motorcycles,” he said.
The deputy governor said the state government had made provision for 17 skills acquisition centres and five technical schools across the state to cushion the effect of the ban.
He added that efforts had been put in place by the government to equip the people through partnering with organisations such as Elizade Motors, to teach them how to do mechanical works.
“The Lagos State Government has provided 65 Bus Rapid Transit buses and 14 ferries on our waterways as alternatives,” he said.
Refuting claims that the government endorsed private investors to operate motorcycling business, the deputy governor said, “Whenever there is a change, it is natural for us to criticise change, but change is good.
” It is important for us to save lives.
“In the last three weeks, data from general hospitals shows that there were just seven accidents instead of 28 hitherto; who can say the 21 lives saved are not important.”
The deputy governor disclosed that the state government would bring in 2,000 new taxis.
“It is not just bringing vehicles, we want to assemble them to create jobs for people here.
On unemployment, Hamzat advised youths to seek empowerment scheme such as AGRIC-YES organised by the state Ministry of Agriculture.
“There is the Empowerment Trust Fund too; anyone who has an idea and think it can work, can present them.
“About 5,000 young people have been given grants or loans. We want them to seek this and not what can lead to their death.
“One of our plans is to create enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs.
“Government itself cannot create enough jobs. It is therefore, important for us take this type of decision to make it easier for business people to run their businesses and create more jobs,” he added. (NAN)