Earlier today, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, appeared on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily show and argued that no company was ever licensed to operate motorcycle(s), popularly known as Okada, as a business in the state.
This argument was in defense of the Lagos State Government’s decision to ban motorbikes in 15 local government areas, including major commercial centres.
Commenting further on this, Omotosho stated that all the government ever did was try to regulate the activities of these bike-hailing companies. This was in a bid to control some of the excesses associated with their operations.
“You are talking about registration; as far as I am concern, the government has not registered any company to come and be running Okada. In fact, what the government was trying to look at is how to regulate these people so that their excesses can be curtailed.
“But as far as I know, nobody has been licensed to go and start running Okada because it is unfortunate that… the rate at which people are dying; the rate at which people are being robbed on the roads; the police are worried, everybody is worried.”
The commissioner also disclosed why the decision was taken to ban motorcycles in some parts of the state. According to him, there was an urgent need to do something about the number of accidents caused by motorbikes.
He reeled out stats from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) about how 104, 000 accidents in the state involved poor people, most of whom he claimed use motorbikes as means of transportation. He also stated that many of these so-called poor people are in favour of the government banning motorbikes.
He, however, noted that the ban will not affect those using motorbikes to offer courier services. This is because they do not carry human beings. But there are recommended bikes that must be used for delivery services.
“They have to be above 200cc and you have to have a box behind you that you are doing courier service and you don’t have to carry passengers; you have to be well-kitted and wear your helmet,” he added.