Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM


National Conscience Party – Lagos State



The Lagos State National Conscience Party (NCP) totally condemns the ban “order” allegedly placed on the operation of Okada (motorcycle) operators/riders in Lagos State between 7.00p.m and 6.00a.m. The aforesaid ban order was announced by Mr. Dele Alake, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, even though, from the media reports, it was not stated whether the ban “order” was based on a promulgated law or a mere executive pronouncement. In any event, we in the Lagos State NCP regard this ban “order” as insensitive to the plight of common people that have been forced to use Okada as a commercial, means of transportation either for living or for moving around. This is because the “order” completely ignores the need of those that are forced to work beyond 7pm to make ends meet. It equally completely ignores the factual non-existence of functional transportation network system in Lagos State. Very sadly, we note that the ban “order” does not state any alternative means of survival for Okada commercial riders nor any alternative and functional transportation means for the hapless citizen forced to use Okada now and then. The order completely glosses over the fact that most of the roads are so bad that only Okada operators can ply them day or night.

We regard the reason given for this order as untenable and futile. According to media report, the order was issued “to stem the spate of criminalities being perpetrated by Okada riders in the Lagos metropolis”. We say with full sense of responsibility that this is a very porous and futile way to attempt to stop the admittedly alarming rise in crimes in Lagos State and across Nigeria as a whole.

It is porous because the “order” is supposedly against commercial users of Okada and this raises the question of whether the Lagos State government can legitimately and justifiably ban any means of transportation for ordinary Nigerians under the 1999 constitution. According to the media report, anyone found violating this “order” will have to pay a fine of N50,000. This singular fact alone, shows that the makers of this “order” are suffering from what Fela Anikulapo Kuti calls “Ikoyi blindness”. In plain language, it betrays the mind set of those that are too affluent who could not recognise the fact that most Okada operators and riders do not derive any special joy in using that as means of mass transportation either during the day or the night! If not, how could anybody in contemporary Lagos State expect an Okada operator and or their passenger to be in a position to pay a fine of N50,000 (Fifty thousand naira) for the “crime” of riding Okada at an arbitrarily proscribed hours!

As it is reported by the media, the “order” is based on a prejudicial supposition that Okada operators constitute a major factor in the rise of crimes. This, we contend, is a total fallacy. Every reasonable and honest person knows that the alarming rate of crimes in our contemporary society is directly and proportionally due to the massive unemployment, which constitutes the lives of the vast majority of the population, especially of the youths. Those that do not engage in violent crimes like robbery thrive on frauds and prostitution. How therefore on earth, can the ban of Okada from to eliminate this phenomenal negative way of surviving for the vast majority of our youths?

We therefore state without any fear of contradiction that one of the most realistic ways to stem the prevailing alarming rate of crime is for government at state and central levels to implement policies which will provide jobs for most of our youths and not one like this, which will only certainly kill the means of survival of a vast majority Okada operators in Lagos State. Two, we suggest that the personnel of the police and all related anti-crime security operatives should be well remunerated, equipped of course along side the generality of the workers in both public and private sectors, so that these officers can genuinely and wholeheartedly fight crimes, which is the reason for their existence instead of making orders unjustly criminalising and penalizing legitimate Okada operators and riders.

We therefore demand the immediate withdrawal of this order banning Okada operations at night in Lagos State. Instead, we call on Lagos State Government to look for a more realistic way of stemming the spate of crimes, as opposed to an order like this, which will only make more hands jobless and become potential candidates for night marauders who operate in most working class communities now in fifties and hundreds – mostly on their legs!

Chairman, Lagos NCP
General Secretary, Lagos NCP