Lagos traffic law: 40,000 Okada riders may be jobless
Okada riders on duty in Lagos Commercial motorcycle riders, popularly calledOkada riders, under the aegis of Nigerians Auto Bike Commercial Owners and Workers Association, have said about 40,000 of its members will be forced out of business by the new Lagos State Traffic Law.
The leader of the association, Mr. Aliyu Wamba, told SUNDAY PUNCH that socio-economic and security problems loomed, with the law banning them from federal highways, which represented about 95 per cent of roads in the state.
He said, “NACOWA has about 40,000 members in Lagos alone. These members have wives and children. If the government goes ahead with the law, it means those to be affected will run into hundreds of thousands.
“There are about six major riders’ associations and NACOWA is the second largest. If the members of the associations are put together, you can now imagine the number of people the law will make jobless. As the economy is, Okada remains the largest employer of labour.”
Wamba explained that Okada riders were ready to comply with other provisions of the law, except those that barred them from operating on the highways. He added that it was the reason why the association had prayed a court to void the section of the law that prohibited their operations on major highways.
The NACOWA boss said, “Most of the provisions of the law are in our favour and we are ready to comply 100 per cent. However, three of the provisions infringe on our human rights. Our prohibition from the federal highways is not acceptable.
“We have been banned from operating on about 95 per cent of roads in Lagos and if the law is implemented, automatically, we are out of business. I think the government has to consider the economic and security implications of the policy.”
Commercial motorcycle operators in the state recently appealed to the government to defer the enforcement of the law to enable them to relocate their operations and families from the state.
The Chairman, Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ugo, at a recent sensitisation forum organised by the Ministry of Transportation said, “We are aware of the law. We have been trying to educate our members.
“But many of them have said they could not operate in the state under the law. We are appealing to the state government to give them time to make some money to be able to relocate their families from Lagos State.”
The Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, however said the government was not interested in frustrating people out of the state.