Residents, freight forwarders and personnel of government agencies operating within the Apapa area have expressed divergent views over the recent ban on Okada in Apapa and environs
Recall that citing safety as the major reason, the Lagos State Government had placed a restriction on motorcycles and tricycles in some parts of the state last month. Also affected are Mile2, Tincan and Apapa areas of the state.
Checks by Shipping Position Daily correspondent, confirms that there are over 10,000 Okada riders that operates between Apapa and Tin Can area of the state, with about 9000 northern riders.
However, reacting to the ban, freight forwarders, customs officers and residents of Apapa have expressed divergent views over the ban, with some welcome the restriction others kick against it.
In a telephone chat with our correspondent, the National Secretary of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Babatunde Mukaila noted that the ban on Okada is a good move, stating that Okada is a backward mode of transportation for any country.
He added that if Okada ban is enforced in Apapa, it will place more pressure on the government to speedily complete the port access road and as well reduce the uncontrolled numbers of accidents in Apapa.
“Okada as a mode of transportation is not a plus to any country, it is a backward mode of movement to any country, I believe if Okada ban is enforced in Apapa, it’s going to put pressure on the government to complete the port access roads, although they may be difficulties in the day to day activities of customs agents, due to some of the isolated cases of road construction that is ongoing, it will however reduce the uncontrolled numbers of accidents and robberies on our roads, so in the long run, the ban should take effect” he said.
However, on his part, the Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Government Approved freight forwarders (NAGAFF); Stanley Ezenga, opined that the ban on Okada especially in places like Apapa is a misplaced priority.
He noted that Okada is the only means of transportation in Apapa, even as he added that, the ban will bring undue hardship to the freight forwarders and residents.
“Government erred, Apapa port and environs cannot be accessed except by Okada, it is the only means of transportation, if the ban is enforced, it will bring undue hardship, as many freight forwarders will have to resolve to using their foot from one terminal to the other, so I would urge that the ban should be reversed,” he said.
Reacting to the ban as well, a senior Customs officer who pleaded anonymity also expressed worries that the ban on Okada in Apapa and Tin Can will further compound the difficulties already being encountered in cargo clearance.
He said: “I think the government lacks focus, how can they say they want to ban Okada, I am sure you know that many of us come to office with Okada, sometimes we park our vehicles at Mile 2 from where we pick bikes to any of the commands at PTML, Tin Can, or Apapa”.
Speaking also, retired Brigadier General Sola Ayo-Vaughan, Chairman, Apapa GRA, Resident Association in a chat with our correspondent, lamented the menace of the Okada riders in Apapa, while blaming the government for being too lackadaisical in its approach to get rid of the Okada riders in the state.
In another chat with our correspondent, a resident of the Apapa GRA, Kolawole Ojo, informed that the move to ban Okada is one of the best decisions the state has made so far.
He questioned why states in northern Nigeria imposed a ban on motorbikes to fight insecurity and the Lagos state will embrace such.
He noted that, security is a hot political issue for Lagos and other states in the South West region of Nigeria informing that there is hardly anywhere in the Apapa GRA and other places in Lagos that the Okada riders do not know, he poised that the embracing the Okada men to operate at will in any area of the state portends great danger for the states.
“From the Lagos government’s perspective, I would say the ban is apt. It also fits into the faux status of Lagos State. There is no developed country where Okada is their mode of transportation”, he said.
On his part, Dr. Segun Musa, a freight forwarder lampooned the state government over the ban, he explained that motor bike is part of the mode of transportation and eases transportation, he urged the government to come up with a policy and regulation that will guide the okada riders, rather than outright ban.
“It is unfortunate that the state government is still living in the stone Age. The state government lacks knowledge on how to manage the transport system in the state.
“Motor bike is part of the mode of transportation. It eases transportation and it behooves on the State government to define a policy and a regulation that will guide these motorcyclists or the Okada riders on the best way of practice on the highways or inter roads. It is not for the state to ban, but to regulate and put a defense factor in place”, he stressed.