Will Banning Nigeria's Okada Motorcycles Solve Anything?

Lagos has witnessed a growing number of commercial motorcyclists in recent times, transporting people and goods in and around the state. Many of these operators moved in from northern Nigeria, where authorities banned the use of motorcycles - notoriously used by Boko Haram insurgents, bandits and kidnappers, to carry out attacks. In Lagos, these motorcyclists - popularly known as okada - aren't always popular and face periodic restrictions. The police in Lagos have said that statistics have shown that armed hoodlums who operate on motorcycles are responsible for a greater percentage of crime in the state. The Lagos state government disclosed plans to rid the state of motorcycles and tricycles, with "last-mile" buses provided as an alternative. On the other hand, the bikes offer certain transport advantages: easy maneuverability, the ability to travel on poor roads, and responsiveness to demand. They also create work for people. The move could change commuting for thousands and threaten ride-hailing startups, as the bikes offer a key source of income for thousands of low-skilled young people.

 

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