Several commuters were stranded in Lagos Saturday as the state government’s ban on commercial motorcycles (popularly called Okada) and tricycles (popularly known as Keke) came into force.
The ban, which is being enforced in 15 local government areas and local council development areas across the state, became necessary due to the “scary” casualty figures resulting from their use, the government said.
PREMIUM TIMES monitored the enforcement of the ban in several roads and highways across the state.
Eniola Afusat, a trader at Idumota, said the enforcement of the ban has brought untold hardship to her business.
“I make use of tricycle to carry my goods from the market at times, but now, we will have to wait for vehicles they are usually affected by traffic, this is affecting our business,” she said.
Ibrahim Babangida, a commercial motorcyclist at Apapa-Oshodi expressway, said many motorcycles were seized by the police on Saturday morning.
“I will be going to my village soon, six people were arrested this morning on the road with passengers. I will just work for few hours before I will leave for home,” he said.
Joseph Ibe, a commuter, described the ban as unfortunate.
“There are places in Lagos where only motorcycle can ply, Lagos-Badagry is an example because there is constant traffic there especially during raining season you can easily get a motorcycle to get to your destination fast.”
The enforcement of the ban, however, seemed to be relaxed at the Apapa end of the Apapa-Oshodi expressway as several commercial motorcyclists were seen plying the route on Saturday.
Motorists said it was due to the huge number of tankers and trailers parked on the road which makes vehicular movement almost impossible.
Abdullahi Mohammed, a commercial motorcyclist, told PREMIUM TIMES the police were yet to sieze motorcycles on that road because the road is blocked by tankers.
“There is always gridlock on this road, motorcycle is the best option. We have been told the police will commerce arrest on Monday,” he said.
A commuter who identified herself simply as Jibike, said the ban was long overdue and that the majority of the commercial motorcyclists lack experience in riding their motorcycles.
“If you know the cases of bike accidents in hospitals or your relative has ever become handicapped due to bike accident, you would thank the government for enforcing the ban,” she said.
Ismail Lawal, a stranded commuter at Secretariat bustop, CMD road, lamented that the police were overzealous in effecting the ban.
“This is CMD road, it was not listed at one of the banned roads for okada and Keke, yet the police seized many of them and the others are in hiding leaving us stranded.”
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the police seized motorcycles and bicycles that were working on inner roads, such as Ikosi road to CMD road, Ikosi-road to Magodo/Shangisha and some other inner routes at Kosofe.
Asked why they were impounding motorcycles plying the inner streets not listed among the banned roads, one of the police officers responded that the ban was ‘a total ban,’ and no road would be spared.
“You are speaking English, it is a total ban,” the police officer said.
“The state said they don’t want them, let them go and learn a trade, we need more artisans.”
At different locations, many commuters were seen trekking to the nearest landmark to get a bus since there was no motorcycle or tricycle to convey them as used to be the case.
While at the Third mainland bridge an accountant who identified herself as Mrs Damiola said she was trapped in traffic for over an hour.
“That caused a major delay to my work this morning, there as always been traffic on this road, government should look out for other solution rather than placing a ban,” she said.