The Okada Ban: They may not be the safest or the most reliable, but they are important to everyday Nigerians

On July 22, the Federal Government said, through the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, that it was proposing a ban on commercial motorbike and mining activities as part of its strategy to combat insecurity.

Residents and motorcyclists in Gwagwalada, Kuje, and Abaji Area Councils of the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, expressed concern that the Okada ban would worsen security in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) if it wasn’t properly planned.

Many operators will lose their jobs, and others might even be recruited by terrorists and robbers to do even more destruction, especially in the satellite towns, according to the residents.

According to NAN, the restriction on Okada operations, which began in some areas of Lagos, caused a spike in transportation prices, a scenario that some stakeholders said could impair the city’s residents’ standard of living.

Many commuters now have a choice between taking commercial buses, whose prices have more than doubled, or waiting in long lines at Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) loading stations as a result of the prohibition.

Reactions to the Okada ban by Abuja residents

  • Mr. Abraham Gado, a resident of Kuje Area Council, lamented the existing high rate of youth unemployment in the nation and said that the prohibition would cause the labor market to become even more unemployed. Gado suggested that rather than outlawing okada operations, the bandits and other criminal elements in the nation should be dealt with properly in order to save lives and property.
  • Mrs. Laraba Jigo, a resident of Abaji Area Council, said the development would worsen the traffic situation as some people who ride bikes would now have to drive. According to her, the majority of the population suffers from abject poverty and do not have vehicles of their own. She believes the ban will make them vulnerable and miserable.
  • Samuel Danjuma, another Gwagwalada Area Council resident, claimed that in addition to making it harder for the poorer residents to get around, the decision would also lead to an increase in violence in some neighborhoods. He argued that transportation “is a vital aspect of human activity and it consumes a major percentage of one’s income.”
  • Additionally, some commercial motorcycle riders in the FCT’s Bwari Area Council claimed that a nationwide ban on motorcycle use would not only harm businesses but may also put more people through hardship.
  • According to Mr. Iliya Mohammed, the Chairman of the Kaduna-Kafanchan Transport Services Union in Bwari, the restriction could end up hurting more people than it helps. He claims that terrorists and outlaws who disturb the calm of the nation can utilize motorcycles in the jungles where they typically camp without being caught.

Malam Muhammad Bello, the FCT Minister, however, reaffirmed the earlier ban on Okada and restrictions on “Keke NAPEP” operations in the FCT that had been imposed by his administration.

The Federal Capital City (FCC), including the Kubwa and Airport expressways, has a complete ban on the use of motorbikes, or “okadas,” per the minister’s executive order, while Keke NAPEP tricycles are only permitted in residential areas.

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