The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat has reaffirmed that the State Government will not reconsider its decision on its ban of motorcycles and tricycles from major roads to secure lives and reduce vices in the state.
The Deputy Governor noted “the essence of this ban is to ensure that the lives of citizens that resides in Lagos is secured. It is not to punish anybody or restrict people from doing certain jobs but the reality is that people are dying, the security of our children is being compromised and the government must act”.
The Deputy Governor who stated this last night during his appearance on “Politics Today’’, a programme on Channels Television, explained that the government made this decision after evaluating the rate of crime and accidents recorded in the state.
Hamzat averred that the ban was in accordance with the Lagos State Transport Reform Law of 2012. He stated that “it is a law that has been in existence since 2012, it was revised by the past administration in 2018. It is a law that has been there for 9-10 years now’.
He further explained that the law says that Okadas and Keke Napeps are restricted from plying major highways, certain roads and all bridges.
He stated that “what this administration is doing is just to implement the law that the House of Assembly passed which must have been vigorously scrutinized”.
Also the state government’s law was revisited due to the scary figures of fatal accidents in the state, as against the claims that the ban was targeted at anyone or group saying that “the Sanwo-Olu’s Administration was only implementing existing laws of the state”.
He further stated that ‘we have 27 general hospitals in Lagos and close to 3000 private hospitals, using the statics of just the general hospitals alone, on the an average, of 28 deaths related to okada are recorded monthly. It is therefore important as a government to act.
He noted that since implementation of the ban of Okadas and Tricycles by the government, the rate of accidents on Lagos roads has significantly reduced.
The Deputy Governor decried that okada and keke napep were used as tools for crime such as theft, drug trafficking and vices by some criminal elements. He stated that “these modes of transportation are becoming avenue to commit crimes and the government cannot wait until major disasters happen before the government acts”.
While berating the level of social vice perpetuated in the society through the motorcycles, the deputy governor noted that ‘we have now found out that the tricycles and motorcycles are now the vehicles for transporting drugs even to schools. The government must ensure that the security of lives and the prosperity of our children must be protected and cannot be ignored.’
He stressed that attacks on citizens at the major cities was becoming alarming and there was an urgent need for the government to act. He stated that ‘we get calls through our emergency control centers as early as 6:00am from people going to work been robbed and harassed through motorcycle’.
He stated that motorcycles and tricycles has a huge impact on the economy of the state, as artisans no longer exist in Nigeria. He noted that if you want to lay tiles people are being brought in from the neighboring countries.
He noted that the state government has made provision for 17 skill acquisition centres, 5 technical schools and you will be lucky to get people to attend. He further stressed that several efforts have been put in place by the government to equip the people through partnering with Organisations such as Elizade Motors to teach people on how to do mechanical works.
Dr. Hamzat stated that the Lagos State Government has provided 65 BRT buses and 14 ferries in our waterways for those areas with water as alternatives.
He announced that the state government has embarked on a BRT bus lane from Bolade Oshodi to Katanguwa Abule Egba which is about 14-15kms will be completed very soon.
The Deputy Governor also disclaimed that the Lagos State Government endorsed private investors to operate motorcycling business in the State, the Deputy Governor stated that “anybody can pay a courtesy visit to the Governor or Government as he is for the people. They actually came, but that is not an endorsement, they came to discuss a business and were told that there is a law regulating against Okada in Lagos”.
“O trek’’ – People are going on trek.
65 buses were pushed out. Also 14 ferries, we are not saying there is water everywhere but we should use the waterways. Where it is, we must use it.
Lagos State has 0.4% of Nigeria landmass but has 10% of the population. The density is high. It is a statement of geography. 30% of that landmass is water. That is what God has given us and we must use it.
The reality is, what is the best way. We are doing a bus way -BRT from Bolade to Katangowa. It is about 14-15 km. We will populate it very soon. It is not finished yet; the terminals and facilities are being built hopefully by April, we will finish it. The essence is to move people in a safe and secured way. What is so interesting is that Nigerians are very innovative and smart. Where I live there use to be Okada, Keke etc. but today what I see are mini buses; its private people providing it.
Whenever there is a change, it is natural for us to criticise change to be reactive to the change. But change is very good. This is a good one. If we save lives; it is important.
In truth, in the last 3 weeks old, the data from General Hospitals shows that there are just 7 accidents from 28 hitherto, who can say 21 lives saved is not important.
We have not covered all the areas yet but we will get there.
SECURITY RELATED – FARE HIKE
Before this we met stakeholders among them – NURTW. On Monday, 3rd February, we had a meeting with NURTW Chairman, we heard some people are stopping deployed vehicles from loading, after we agreed that no one should take advantage of the people. As a matter of fact, we are going round all the Local Governments to monitor. What we do will be severe. We will suspend them if they are overcharging. We will deal with them.
There is no solution that solves all the problem. If you solve 8 out of 10 problems by a solution, it is good. We will bring in 2000 new taxis. It is not just bringing vehicles, we want to assemble them to create jobs for people here. That is what we have started well ahead of this.
OKADA – OUT OF JOBS – WHERE THEY LIVE
We have masterplans, physical planning rules and regulations. In certain areas, we are going to create ROWs. If you build a shanty on the ROW, you will be moved ultimately. One of the things we are doing is that these are young people who are trying to survive, we don’t want to punish but do what is in the common interest.
We have ‘Rent to Own’ and other housing schemes from which we can make them available to help people. There are many other programmes. It is even deepening the economy. We have agreed in principle and the companies have to seek board approval. Part of what they are asking is 5 hectares of land in Lagos to do the Assembly. What is sustainable, we intend through this by building a Resilient City and not by fire brigade.
Okada is not a job parents want their children to do. We understand economy circumstances may have compelled it, we plan to give better alternative. Let’s get them to do training on welding. When building the Ikoyi Link Bridge, the contractor needed 70 Welders and wants to go outside for them, the project delayed for six months. Former Governor Fashola refused them going outside. We trained the 70 people who after the project have been taken up by some Oil Companies paying between N500,000 and N700,000 monthly.
Let’s design things that are good for our people. All these knee jack approaches cannot save this county.
There is also the AGRIC-YES by the Ministry of Agriculture. It is a youth empowerment scheme. They have resident there along with their farm. There is the Empowerment Trust Fund too. Anyone who has an idea that you think can work, you can present them. About 5,000 young people have been given grants or loans. We want them to seek this and not what can lead to their death.
TRACKING OF UNEMPLOYMENT
One of our plans is to create enabling environment for the private sector to create jobs. Government itself cannot create enough jobs. It is therefore, important for us take this type of decision to make it easier for business people to run their businesses and create more jobs.
The residence registration agency is also to allow us get a data about people. We acknowledge that daily influx changes the goal post, but as a citizen, you must register. What you can’t measure, you can’t plan it.
In some cases in our primary schools, we have 7 kids in a class. That area do not need schools, but in the other there are 60.
In Ajah, the 1st, 2nd and Abraham Adesanya, we are removing roundabout and turning them by expanding them and introducing signalisation. The issue is do we do them sequentially with a 3 months wait and spread pain or do it once. We chose once so we can free us all.
The situation is a chicken and egg issue. We intend maintenance on Bonny Camp Bridge but must wait. As with infrastructure, we need to rebuild and maintain them. We know its creating traffic but it will ease out. We are in dry season. In raining season, we cannot aggressively focus on road construction. This is a period to quickly do this.
BUSINESS INTEREST AND USE OF WATERWAYS
Lagosians must know that dropping things on the road is not good. Whatever is dumped ends up somewhere. Waterways is ultimately, where it all ends. Our campaign is to start from the homes. We are distributing bags etc. LAWMA is on the waterways now. We will get there.