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Gokada, Max.ng operators protest over Okada ban in Lagos

Ride hailing bike operators in Lagos on Friday stormed the Alausa Government House to protest against the ban of Okada which takes effect on February 1 (Saturday).

The operators are those of the registered firms – Gokada, Max.ng, among others who have been banned from operating in 15 local governments and various highways and bridges.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho had on Monday announced the ban of Okada and tricycles.

“From 2016 to 2019, there were over 10,000 accidents recorded at the General Hospitals alone caused by motorcycles and tricycles. This number excludes unreported cases and those recorded by other hospitals. The total number of deaths from reported cases is over 600 as at date,” he said

The protest started from Oregun along Kudirat Abiola way with the operators bearing various placards and marched to the state House of Assembly.

They appealed to the state government to regulate their services and not restrict them from operating, saying banning them would throw them into the unemployment market.

They lamented that the business is their only means of survival.

They were chanting: “Regulate, No ban!!!”, and implored government to reconsider the total ban.

One of the riders, Charles Ogu said, “If you are banning us, you are telling us to go into begging. This is the only work we have. We are pleading with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to listen to our plea. Please don’t ban us.”

Daily Trust however learnt that riders belonging to Opay which form the bulk of the operators were not part of the protest. One of them contacted by our correspondent said their management did not give them the go-ahead to participate in the project.

Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, represented by Hon. Bisi Yusuf (Alimosho LGA) received the petition submitted by the protesters and assured that they would help them out.

He said: “We will deliberate on it and will know the reasonable things to do, but pending that time, please, conduct yourselves the way you have done today.

“Do not let anyone hijack your protest because if you do, you all will be held responsible for it. You have all exhibited a high level of decorum, and I must say that it is quite impressive”

“The government has made pronouncement on this issue, keep to the law and do not ply routes from which you have been banned until deliberations are concluded”.

“You all are stakeholders in this matter and will be treated as such, so, once decisions have been made you all will be invited to sit and discuss matters with government”.

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

In a statement by the State government today, the ban was intended to push young people into finding better jobs because, “Okada is not an enduring trade”:
“Our youths no longer learn the trades we used to be proud of – tailoring, bricklaying, printing, painting and others. Now we get artisans from neighbouring countries,” it said

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