27 Oct

The proposed ban of commercial motorcycle (A.K.A Okada or Achaba) by National Council on Transport and subsequent endorsement by the Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, is comedic and laughable.

It is irritating that those who ride customised public-funded jeeps seem to be so divorced from reality. Have they considered those living in city cul-de-sacks, out-of-nowhere villages and hamlets, forgotten, muddy and unpassable township roads? Every city in Nigeria – Abuja, Lagos and Port-Harcourt inclusive – have roads that are straight from hell.

I was in Lagos two months ago and regretted venturing into Akute area (an oscillation between Lagos and Ogun States). What I experience was unspeakable. The best form of transportation in that area is motorcycle. I saw tricycles that got stuck.

It is funny when people wake up on the wrong side of the bed to formulate anti-people policies. Construct access roads everywhere, repair bad ones, then you can ban motorcycles, and even tricycles.

Millions of Nigerians get to their destinations – offices, shops, schools, etc. today because of the access to Okada. Removing that will exacerbate their sufferings.

Thousands, if not millions, live on income from the same Okada. And many of these are graduates who resorted to Okada riding because of lack of job. It may be banned from major roads as is the case in Lagos; outright ban would create more problems.

Subjecting the hitherto poor and hapless Nigerians to further hardships is inhuman. The government should first provide necessary facilities and not formulate Machiavellian policies.

Femi Olabisi twits @Femiolas

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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Opinion


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