Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has urged the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to urgently design a new business plan that would engage commercial motorcycle operators popularly called Okada riders who were recently restricted from plying 475 roads in the state.
Fashola made the appeal at the weekend at celebration of the 2012 Lagos State day and the closing ceremony of the 2012 Lagos State Trade Fair and Exhibition held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, (TBS), Lagos.
Fashola said that this is the only way the chamber can partner with the state government on the new road traffic law signed into law on August 2nd in the state.
According to the governor, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, "The reason why we seek the partnership of LCCI is that the present administration in Lagos State knows the importance of the chamber as the umbrella body for business in the country, especially Lagos state."
"And because of this, LCCI is one body that is in a better position to help the state government in developing a sustainable business plan that would accommodate all the okada operators who by virtue of the new law may not be able to engage in the business again.
"We need a sustainable business plan for these residents of the state. This is because okada is not a sustainable means of transportation for any state, especially Lagos State, which has a megacity status."
"Before the restriction of okada in the state, the number of orphans, widows and widowers was increasing daily, and hospitals in the state were being congested with victims of okada accidents.
The governor emphasised that since the restriction, the state has recorded a drastic reduction in the number of accidents and crime across the state.
"The state government is ready to partner with the chamber to come up with the right business strategy plan for these operators," he added that the state government's doors are always open for the plan from the LCCI.
Fashola assured residents of the state that the government will always be responsive government that would ensure that a new business strategy is designed for them.
On the choice of the venue, the governor assured business operators that after the completion of the ongoing Lekki Free Trade Zone, the state would be moving every trade fair and exhibition to that axis of the state, saying "It would serve as a permanent site for trade fair and exhibition in the state for both local and international business organisation."