The ban on commercial motorcycle and tricycle operations in Lagos State, has taken effect today, February 1.
The state government insists that the ban is for the greater good of the state.
According to the Director of Transport Operations at the Ministry of Transportation, Gbolahan Toriola, who was a guest on Channels TV’s weekend breakfast programme, Sunrise Saturday, the initiative is expected to help reduce traffic congestion on the highways.
Toriola also stated that as an alternative, the state government is working on bringing in smaller buses to ply inner routes.
Meanwhile, some of the transporters who were affected have continued to lament over the situation.
Some of those who spoke to Channels Television, say tricycle and motorcycle operation was brought into Nigeria as part of a poverty alleviation scheme of the National Poverty Eradication Programme and a ban would defeat the purpose for which they were introduced.
They have, therefore, called on the government to provide speedy alternatives as many of them rely on these means of transportation as their source of livelihood.
Following Tuesday’s bomb blast at Sabon Gari Local Government Secretariat in Kaduna state that killed 25 people and left 32 others injured, Kaduna State Government has banned all forms of street begging and hawking with immediate effect.
A suspected female suicide bomber sneaked into the secretariat and detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) strapped to her body on Tuesday morning while civil servants were undergoing staff verification.
Eyewitness accounts said the female suicide bomber had joined the queue of workers, pretending to be part of those undergoing the verification exercise before detonating the explosive device that sent the entire secretariat into a pandemonium.
In a statement issued by spokesman for the Kaduna State Governor, shortly after the blast, said the ban is to enhance security in the state.
The statement warned all beggars and hawkers to stay off the streets until further notice, warning that any of them found on the streets would be arrested, until these measures are relaxed.
In addition, the government reiterates that the ban on commercial motorcycles popularly known as ‘Achaba’ remains in force.
The government also urged the citizens to report all suspicious persons and movements to the security agencies for prompt action.
The 32 injured persons are being treated at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, while the remains of the 25 dead bodies have been deposited at the hospital’s mortuary.
The Chairman of the All Auto bike Commercial Owners and Workers Association of Nigeria (ANACOWA), Aliyu Wamba, on Tuesday said the restriction of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada from some routes in Lagos is a ploy by the State government to out rightly ban that means of transportation.
Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s morning programme, Sunrise, Mr Wamba said one of the state government requirements for any okada plying designated route is that the motorcycle engine capacity must not be below 200cc.
“If they use the word ‘ban’, it would sound very ugly to the hearing of the masses, the truth is that they have ban okada in Lagos” Mr Wamba said.
When corrected by a host of the programme that the state government only prohibited okada riders from plying 475 routes, the union leader requested permission to elaborate a salient point in the new traffic law.
He said: “there is another clause that says if your motorcycle is below 200cc, you are prohibited from the other routes in Lagos. So which other routes can okadas ply?”
Mr Wamba said all the engine capacity of all the motorcycles in Lagos is below 200cc.
The union leader said the government is taking the steps to ban commercial motorcycles in Lagos because “they hate okada riders”. The government however insisted that the new law is to bring sanity on the road.
The law prohibits okada riders from carrying pregnant women, school-children or women with children. It also prohibits the riders from carrying more than one passenger and from riding against traffic or riding on the kerb, median or road set- backs.
Furthermore the commercial motorcyclists are prohibited from plying major roads in Lagos including Herbert Macaulay Way, Nurudeen Olowopopo Road, Agidingbi Road, Adeola Odeku, Ajose Adeogun, Allen Avenue, Opebi, Isaac John, Mobolaji Johnson Way, Oduduwa Way, among others.
Commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders on Monday dragged the Lagos State Government to court over its new Road Traffic Law, part of which restricts their operations on major highways across the state. The okada riders under the aegis of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association, is seeking an order of court restraining the state government from prohibiting them from operating on the major highways listed in Items 1-11 and other parts of Schedule II of the New Traffic Law.
In the suit No ID/713M/2012 filed through their lawyer, Bamidele Aturu, the claimant is also asking the court to restrain the Lagos state government from molesting, harassing, arresting, seizing their motorcycles or subjecting them to any treatment not suffered by any other road users.
Joined in the suit alongside the Lagos State Government are the state Attorney-General and Lagos State House of Assembly.
The claimants also asked the court to declare that the New Traffic Law constitutes an unjustifiable violation of the right to freedom of movement of the Claimants and their members guaranteed by section 41(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
They also asked the court to declare that the new Law constitutes a violation of the defendants’ means of livelihood as well as adequate opportunity to secure suitable employment for them as provided for in Section 17(3) (a) of the Constitution.
The okada riders asked the court to declare that the major highways listed in Items 1-11 and other parts of Schedule II of the New Traffic Law in which okada operations are restricted are Federal Trunk or Highway Roads within the meaning of the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
They also asked the court for a declaration that the defendants have no power whatsoever to make any law to regulate traffic on any of the Federal Trunk or Highway Roads listed in Schedule II to the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, No 4 of 2012 and in the Federal Highways Act, cap F13, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
In addition they sought a declaration that the provisions of that section 3(1) of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, No 4 of 2012 to the extent that it prohibits the riding, driving or propelling of a cart, wheel barrow, motorcycle or tricycle on the Major Highways in Lagos listed in Items 1-11 and other parts of Schedule II is in fundamental conflict with section 4(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and is therefore ultra vires, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null, void, oppressive, inoperative and of no effect whatsoever.
The claimants further asked the court to order directing the defendants to immediately release all motorcycles belonging to them and their members seized by and in the custody of the Defendants and their agents and or officers.
The Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime on Tuesday signed into law, a bill banning operations of motorcycles otherwise known as Okada in Enugu metropolis.
Mr Chime, who signed the law in the presence of the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Eugene Odo, the House Leader, Udo Okoye and other principal officers of government, said that the law aims to checkmate the activities of men of the underworld and protect lives and property of the people.
The law prescribes one year imprisonment without any option of fine for violators.
“The House of Assembly today passed the bill and we have enacted the law which primary goal is the protection of lives and property of our people. This exercise, effectively, bans the use of motorcycles, otherwise known as Okada in Enugu metropolis,” the governor said.
“As a government, we made efforts to streamline the operations of the genuine operators but these efforts, unfortunately, had not been fruitful because crime rate rose and most of the crimes were facilitated by the use of motorcycles by evil-minded persons.
“It got so bad that the law enforcement agencies officially requested the ban of motorcycles because of the menace of the men of the underworld who have been using them to perpetrate crimes. As a responsive and responsible government, we have enacted this law in the best interest of all of us.”
The governor enjoined Enugu residents to embrace other means of transport available in the city.
“In the past few years, government injected over 700 taxi cabs in the metropolis in addition to tens of hundreds by the private sector as well as the Coal City Shuttle and other buses.
“We regret any inconveniences this ban may cause the commuters but it had to be taken in the best interest of all of us. So, we plead with our people to obey the law as we also urge the law enforcement agents to, please, ensure strict enforcement of the law in our overall interest”.
The Lagos state government on Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos that it has not imposed a ban on the operations of commercial motor cyclists, otherwise known as Okada, on Lagos roads.
The state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye said this while making submissions in a suit filed against the government by four different Okada riders associations.
The motorcycle operators had filed the suit alleging plans to ban their operations by the state government.
Those who filed the suit are the Trustees of National Commercial Motorcycle and Tricycle Owners and Riders Association; Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria; Trustees of All Nigerians Autobike Commercial Owners and Workers Association; and Okada Welfare Association.
They listed the state government and the state Attorney general as respondents to the suit.
The Attorney General however told the court presided over by Justice Steven Adah that what the Okada riders were reacting to mere newspaper reports.
On the issue of a ban being a breach of fundamental rights of the applicant, Mr Ipaye said that “it has not been alleged anywhere that commercial motor cycles would no longer operate on the roads.”
“What are imminent are regulations which are facts of life in any business. It would therefore not be appropriate in any civilised society for there not to be regulations,” he said.
On the operations of the applicants for commercial purposes, the Attorney General said that since they carry people in return for payment of services rendered, “and if government is to be alive to its responsibilities, it is a business which must be regulated”.
Mr Ipaye also said that the constitution vested the executive with powers and the courts can not intervene in the exercise of such powers.
He therefore urged the court to dismiss the application of the Okada riders stressing that “any one complaining of the action or inaction of an administrative body must show clearly that that administrative body has exceeded the power conferred on it by the constitution”.
Counsel to the applicants, Bamidele Aturu had earlier told the court that there is no law in Lagos State which empowered the executive to ban the operations of commercial motor cyclists on Lagos roads.
According to him, the state house of assembly has not, as at date, put in place any law to back the action of the government to ban, seize commercial motor cycles or arrest the operators adding that the state government also do not have any authority to ban Okada from federal roads.
Mr Aturu also told the trial court that the respondents raised certain fundamental issues in their written address before the court which he said are not justifiable under the provisions of Chapter 2 of the constitution and certain provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Right.
He accused the respondents of embarking on a selective reduction of the applicants’ claim to just the provisions of Chapter 2 of the constitution.
Citing relevant decided cases on whether provisions of chapter 2 of the constitution are enforceable, he said that section 13 of that chapter gave all organs of government and any person exercising legislative power to implement chapter 2 of the constitution.
“When two sections of the constitution are in conflict, the latter section prevails”, he said.
The presiding judge adjourned the matter to the 4 May for ruling.
The applicants are seeking among other declarations that the proposed ban and restriction of their operations will constitute a violation of their constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of movement.
The Okada riders are demanding that the court gives an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Lagos state government from hindering their operation or arresting their members for using commercial motorcycles or in any other ways preventing the members from gainful employment through the use and or operation of their motorcycles.
They also sought an order directing the respondents to release all the motorcycles that had so far been seized.