by Rachel Ogbu
The Chairman of the All Auto bike Commercial Owners and Workers Association of Nigeria (ANACOWA), Aliyu Wamba has accused the Lagos State Governor, Babatune Fashola, of plotting to completely ban commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada as a means of transportation.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s morning programme, Sunrise, on Tuesday, Wamba said the government’s hidden motive could easily be deciphered through one of thenew requirements in the traffic law.
One of the provisions stipulates that for any okada to ply any designated route the motorcycle engine capacity must not be below 200cc.
“If they use the word ‘ban’, it would sound very ugly to the hearing of the masses, the truth is that they have banned okada in Lagos,” Wamba said.
When corrected by a host of the programme that the state government only prohibited okada riders from plying 475 routes, the union leader requested permission to elaborate a salient point in the new traffic law.
He said: “There is another clause that says if your motorcycle is below 200cc, you are prohibited from the other routes in Lagos. So which other routes can okadas ply?” Wamba said all the engine capacity of all the motorcycles in Lagos is below 200cc.
The union leader said the government was taking the steps to ban commercial motorcycles in Lagos because “they hate okada riders.”The government however insisted that the new law is to bring sanity on the road.
The law prohibits okada riders from carrying pregnant women, school-children or women with children. It also prohibits the riders from carrying more than one passenger and from riding against traffic or riding on the kerb, median or road set- backs.
Furthermore the commercial motorcyclists are prohibited from plying major roads in Lagos including Herbert Macaulay Way, Nurudeen Olowopopo Road, Agidingbi Road, Adeola Odeku, Ajose Adeogun, Allen Avenue, Opebi, Isaac John, Mobolaji Johnson Way, Oduduwa Way, among others.