Despite drawing widespread praise from the citizenry while he was a guest at The Platform, in October 2019; for his solutions on the transport sector, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has slammed claims he promised not to ban Okada within the metropolis.
During the event, Sanwo-Olu said, “I need to also mention; to solve the traffic issue of Lagos is also to talk about the Okada issue.
“Okada is everywhere, anywhere you see, so part of the things we are going to be doing is not leave anybody behind. People are currently using a system that is working for them; meaning that you see some Okada riders that are branded, that are using smart pays to pay when you finish your journey.
“We are trying to harmonise all of them and be able to come up with a regulation system; where we can account for every Okada rider. We will know who they are, we can manage them and when anything happens.
“I’m hoping we all these, the solution around our traffic would be reduced significantly.”
However, in a surprising volte-face, the Lagos State government, in February 2020; announced the restriction of the activities of commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists; from major roads, highways, and bridges in the state.
The government said its decision was based on the “scary” casualty figures resulting from commuting with those means of transport.
Commuters resorted to trekking as the enforcement on the ban came into force on February 1.
The decision to enforce this mandate was made public; in a statement via the chief press secretary to Sanwo-Olu, Gboyega Akosile.
Sanwo-Olu said he never promised not to ban commercial motorcyclists (popularly known as Okada) from operating in the state.
“When the governor was talking on The Platform; he didn’t make any categorical statement about whether there would be a ban or not,” Mr. Akosile said.
“He said that ‘we will look into it. We will see whether we will use technology or even categorise them…’ Everything he said was not categorical. It wasn’t only at The Platform he said that; he said it at several events.”
The governor’s spokesperson said the state government had only decided to enforce the existing laws in the state.
“What we have only done is to start up enforcement on the existing laws, we have not come out to say we are banning. You cannot ban people’s commercial activities, the government has the responsibility, due to one reason or the other, to regulate.”