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Motorcycle ban in Lagos

Motorcycle Ban in Lagos Causes Uproar as Roads Become Congested

Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos State, has imposed a ban on motorcycles (okadas) and tricycles (keke) and according to residents, the motorcycle ban seems “unbearable” and somewhat “unreasonable”.

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The Banning of Motorcycles in Lagos

Introduced on February 1, the ban is aimed at decongesting Lagos’s roads and reducing accidents and overcrowding. Citing the two- and three-wheeled vehicles’ “chaos and disorderliness”, as well as the “scary figures” of deadly accidents, the government said the ban was central in its efforts to achieve its goals.

Believed to be sub-Saharan Africa’s largest city, Lagos is the third most stressful city in the world to live in, according to Zipjet. And local media says commuters in the city spend an average of 30 hours a week stuck in traffic, and the motorcycle ban in Lagos doesn’t make matters better.
Lagos has long faced a number of infrastructure problems, which have been exacerbated by its growing population. Motorcycle-hailing startups have become attractive alternatives because bikes can easily cut through gridlock, unlike other vehicles.

The State’s Effort to Right Some Wrongs

Over the years, authorities have undertaken a number of measures to tackle the city’s worsening road crisis, including the launch of a state-sponsored public transport service the establishment of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), an agency under the Ministry of Transportation, charged with reducing traffic and road accidents.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, announced earlier this week that the government would enforce the ban on motorcycles and tricycles in six local government areas, as well as major highways and bridges from February 1.

He explained that the decision was taken after a robust assessment of the debate on the rate of accidents in Lagos, saying security and safety of the lives of the residents were paramount.

Motorcycle Ban and Expected Protests

Commercial motorcycle operators took to the street to express their grievances over the recent decision of the state government to restrict their movement. The operators which include majorly that of Gokada and staged a peaceful protest around the government secretariat in Ikeja.

Motorcycle ban in Lagos

Bearing various placards, the protesters appealed to the state government to regulate their services and not restrict them from operating.

Some residents of Lagos State who are physically challenged have occupied a section of Mobolaji Johnson Avenue, Alausa in Ikeja, the state capital in protest.

The protesters who are majorly commercial tricycle riders are protesting over the restriction of motorcycles and tricycles in some local government areas and expressways in the state by the Lagos State government.

The Areas Affected by the Ban Includes:

  • Apapa LG and Apapa Iganmu LCDA
  • Lagos Mainland LG and Yaba LCDA Surulere LG
  • Itire-Ikate and Coker-Aguda LCDAs
  • Ikeja LG
  • Onigbongbo and Ojodu LCDAs
  • Eti-Osa LG, Ikoyi-Obalende and Iru/Victoria Island LCDAs
  • Lagos Island LG and Lagos Island East LCDA

The Way Forward

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu responded to the outcry by announcing a fleet of 65 buses will be deployed along major routes.

However, Lagosians have reacted angrily, saying that the governor should have implemented the buses before enforcing the ban, which has caused commuters to walk long distance to destinations.

In Ghana, a debate is raging about whether to ban them, yet when the Rwandan government did so a few years ago, it famously back-tracked on the decision after the streets of Kigali ground to a near halt.

Rwanda is now encouraging start-ups to take up the challenge of helping the government regulate an industry in which most riders are self-employed.

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