Nigerian celebrities react to Lagos govt’s Okada, Keke ban

Okada riders in Lagos (Photo Credit: Business Hilights)

The Lagos State government’s ban on commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists has begun generating mixed reactions from Nigerian entertainers.

Nigerian celebrities including comedian Seyi Law, singer Darey Art Alade, and Yoruba actors, Debbie Shokoya, Yomi Fabiyi, and Rotimi Salami, on Monday, shared diverse opinions on the matter.

With the ban already in its fourth day, Lagos road users have lamented the stress the development has subjected them, as they have to work distances that the bikes and tricycles would have covered.

The state government said the ban is necessary to secure the lives of road users and reduce the causalities from road accidents.

Surprisingly, some Nigerian celebrities kept mum about the issue on social media, probably because they are not directly affected.

However, in separate interviews with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday, some of them shared their opinions on the matter.

Responding to questions from this newspaper, Nollywood actor, Rotimi Salami, accused the Lagos state government of being selfish.

“It is a very terrible thing. Do you know how many people Okada has created employment for? My fear is just that they (the affected persons) don’t begin to attack us very soon,” he said.

“I was hoping that the government would create alternatives for these people that they’ve taken food off their tables. This thing affects both riders and users. There is the Gokada and the O’ride, those ones are still kind of well-structured and safe to certain extents. They make use of their helmets and they’re regulated.

“If you’re saying that you are banning Okadas because of road accidents, how many deaths do you think you have caused due to bad roads? I think the bad roads are even more dangerous. Apart from accidents, they cause traffic.

“Imagine when you have a flight to catch and the airport road is congested, we’ve had to jump bikes many times to beat traffic. As it is, traffic is going to get worse because there are going to be more cars on the road. They even said they’re bringing in more buses. To these bad roads? Selfish government!”

When contacted, Seyi Law, declined to comment on ‘government issues’ for personal reasons.

He said, “I don’t want to comment about anything that has to do with the government right now, for some personal reasons. It is affecting everyone in a way or the other.

“We have younger ones who might want to take Okada to work this morning, likewise our mothers at home. The same way it is inconveniencing people, some other people are happy that they can actually drive safely without bikes jumping in the road.”

READ ALSO: Why we pulled down Fela’s statue – Lagos govt

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Singer, Darey Art Alade shared a completely different opinion when contacted. According to him, the ban will give Lagos safer roads without bike men riding recklessly on the roads.

He said, “It’s still early. The ban just started. We don’t really know what is going to happen but we know what is happening now. People are having difficulties getting to work and going about their daily lives. The government keeps saying that there will be an increase in alternatives but I’m not sure those alternatives are in place yet.

“But then, the bikes off the road are already giving us safer roads in terms of the lawlessness that we know that the bike riders practice. Riding with no helmets, riding dangerously and all those things. There are lots of positives and negatives from it.”

Debbie Shokoya, a Yoruba movie actress and producer, condemned the decision. She said the government ought to have fixed the roads first before enforcing the ban on motorcycles and tricycles in the state.

She noted, “There is no good road and you are thinking of banning Okada that helps people avoid a lot of delays, isn’t that crazy? Honestly, I don’t have anything to say rather that it doesn’t make sense, this is where some people get to feed themselves and families.

“Not everyone has money for a cab, Okada has helped such people. And in Lagos where there is a lot of traffic, Okada, has helped transportation become faster in cases where people have a quick appointment to catch up with.

Movie producer, Yomi Fabiyi, said Lagos does not have an advanced transportation system that would ensure the enforcement of the new directive. However, he added that with no palliative measures in place, the development is clearly ill-timed.

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