Nigeria News

Okada Ban: What Sanwo-Olu Must Fix Quickly

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ElevateNews takes a look at the ban on Okada in Lagos and the implications.

Monday was tough for Lagos commuters as many of them were stranded due to the ban on commercial motorcycle and tricycle.

Every bus stop was jam-packed with commuters because there were no enough buses to convey them to their various destinations.

Although Lagos State Government released 15 more vehicles to cushion the effect of the Okada ban, the palliative could not solve the problem.

This is just like scratching the present challenges on the surface because this state of about 25 million people will need no less than a million buses to run the Bus Rapid Transit system introduced about 12 years ago.

Lagos traffic is perpetual. As a result, each BRT bus that leaves its point will spend between one and two hours to return to that point for new set of passengers .

This happens during the rush hours when workers are leaving for office and going back home.

The introduction of corporate commercial motorcycle by the immediate past administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode reduced the pains of commuters.

Many of them who would not like to queue at the BRT points used to jump on machines to get to their destinations.

The current Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu must release enough vehicles as a matter of urgency so as to prevent the insecurity that may result from this ban.

Thousands of Okada and Keke NAPEP operators left Lagos to the northern parts of the country at the weekend.

Many of them also moved to neighbouring states in the southwest to ply their trade while millions of them are still in Lagos staying idle for now.

This is dangerous in that these idle hands may take to crime and their target will be the stranded commuters.

One of the reasons why Lagos State Government has placed a ban on Okada is to be able to control the security situation but if the government fails to provide adequate vehicles to move this large population, it may boomerang to a large scale insecurity.

Perhaps the past administration had emphasized on the building of the blue rail line started by the previous administration of Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the transportation system would have been solved to a larger extent.

Instead, Ambode refused to continue with the project but relaxed the restriction of Okada on Lagos major roads, thus creating another nuisance of a corporate Okada.

As at 11am on Monday, commuters were still stranded at the Berger Bus Stop, waiting for BRT.

As at 10pm on the same Monday, commuters spent hours at Tafawa Balewa Square, BRT point, waiting for the bus.

This should not continue because many Lagos residents will be getting home late and may fall victim of Lagos criminals.

There is a need for more buses in Lagos.

The fact that the BRT fare is cheaper compared to other commercial buses and the comfort it provides are enough reasons for the crowd at the various points.

The Lagos State Government should expedite action on the completion of the blue line while also putting on the roads more BRT buses.

Lagos as a magacity of over 25 million people will need a working intermodal transportation system of road, rail and water to move its residents.

And until all these yellow commercial buses are replaced by the more comfortable BRT buses, the challenges of transportation will live for a long time.

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