The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has expressed support for the controversial ban of motorcycles and motorcycles in parts of Lagos State.
Mr Fashola, who served as governor of the state between 2007 and 2015, said the use of motorcycles and tricycle for commuter services constituted a serious threat to the state’s security.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, last week, issued a directive banning commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists from plying certain roads in the metropolis.
He said this was to reduce traffic congestion in the former Nigerian capital city. Mr Sanwo-Olu said the state government would provide alternative means of transportation for Lagosian.
But the ban has been met with criticism from some Nigerians in and outside Lagos.
Mr Fashola, at a public lecture organised by the United Action for Change (UAC) in Lagos on Thursday, declared his support for the governor over the issue.
“If you care about security, you should back your governor on Okada ban. As a centre of excellence, Okada cannot be part of the plan,” the Cable newspaper quoted the minister as saying.
Mr Fashola related how he was robbed at his home 21 years by criminals riding on motorcycles.
“I’ve always held this position. Motorcycle has always been a conduit pipe for the opioid crisis among youths. We must act to eliminate anonymity.
“I was robbed in my home, in fact on my bed in 1999. Organised crime is dynamic, criminals are aware that people don’t keep money at home again, now they diversified into kidnapping people for ransom.
“We must have data to identify people. You have SIM cards on your phone. It’s called subscriber identity module which can be tracked everywhere in the world. The attorney-general of each state and legislators should act,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, criticisms continued to trail the ban on different social platforms, despite the addition of buses and ferries to cushion the effects of the ban on Lagosians.
While many argued that the governor reneged on his campaign promise not to ban Okada in Lagos, others based their criticisms on the state’s lack of preparedness for the effects of the measure.
In a video widely shared, Mr Sanwo-Olu, as a guest at The Platform in October last year, said he would “harmonise all of them and be able to come up with a regulation system where we can account for every Okada rider”, instead of an outright ban.
In his defence, the governor, through his chief press secretary, Gboyega Akosile, said he never promised not to ban commercial motorcyclists in the state.
On Wednesday, PREMIUM TIMES reported how a schoolgirl was hit by a stray bullet at Iyana Ipaja, Lagos, during a face-off between a group protesting the ban and security operatives of the Lagos State Task Force.