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'Okada' ban will stem road accidents, say traders

29 October 2012, 07:50

Lagos - Some traders in Lagos State have commended the state government for banning commercial motorcycles, popularly called "Okada", in the state, saying that it will reduce road accidents to the barest minimum.

The traders, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, commended the government for prohibiting commercial motorcycles from operating on some highways in certain parts of the state.

They stressed that the measure was necessary, as part of efforts to reduce road accidents across the state.

Mrs Iyabo Ogundare, a trader at the Balogun Plaza Trade Fair, stressed that the ban on commercial motorcycles was in the public interest.

She said that although the ban had created inconveniences for some commuters, it was still the best decision to restrict the operations of ``okada’’ to certain areas.

Ogundare noted that road accidents involving commercial motorcyclists had been so rampant, adding that motorcyclists were often very reckless.

She said that it was better to ban on the operations of commercial motorcyclists so as to enhance road safety.

Mr Chukwuma Oyema, a trader at the Okokomaiko market, told NAN that a large number of road accidents on Lagos roads involved commercial motorcycles.

He said that a visit to the accident and emergency wards of some hospitals would make one to appreciate the ban on `okada’ in a pragmatic way.

"You need to observe the way these motorcycle operators ride on the highways. They ride their bikes with so much recklessness, as if human lives have no meaning to them.

"It is easy for people to condemn the ban on commercial motorcycles but I think people should pay routine visits to accidents wards of hospitals.

"They would discover that majority of the patients there were victims of motorcycle accidents; they would then be in a better position to appreciate the ban on 'okada'," he said.

Oyema stressed that was no need to be unduly sentimental about issues relating to the protection of people’s lives, reiterating that the ban was the best step to take in the circumstance.

Mr Ifeanyi Okafor, another trader at Okokomaiko, said that although he was an ardent user of commercial motorcycles, the policy banning their operation was, nonetheless, reasonable.

"A lot of us will not appreciate the restrictions slammed on the operations of 'okada' because we are lucky not to have involved in accidents involving 'okada'.

"If one had been involved in a motorcycle accident and was lucky to be alive; then, one would be in a better position to appreciate the need to outlaw the operations of 'okada' on our highways," he said.

Okafor urged every resident of Lagos State to support the policy since it was meant to save the people’s lives.

However, some commuters described the ban as a way of making life difficult for `okada’ operators and some commuters.

Mr Jacob Olagoke, a civil servant, said that the ban had only succeeded in increasing cost of transportation in the state, alleging that commercial bus drivers had consequently increased their fares.

"Yesterday, I spent close to N2,300 on transportation from Alagbado to Lagos Island," he said.

He noted the ban on `okada’ would make life extremely difficult for some commercial motorcyclists since the business was their only means of livelihood.

Besides, Mrs Caroline Olarenwaju, another civil servant, said that the ban had increased the sufferings of the people.

She said that a lot of people had resorted to trekking to their destinations because they could not afford the exorbitant fares charged by commercial bus drivers.

Olarenwaju, therefore, appealed to the government to lift the ban on commercial motorcycles.



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