Okada ban in Lagos turns us rule violators, poor – operators lament

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By Misturah Ibiwunmi Tairu and Bernice Gift Nicholas, Edited by Segun Otokiti.

Banned commercial bike riders in Lagos State have cried out over the challenges the government action has brought upon them.

The Lagos State government had months ago drove off riders of commercial, popularly called Okada, from all expressways and some major roads over rising insecurity and other criminal activities in the state which were largely  attributed to them.

Some of them are complaining of low income and tendency to go against the ban and risk going back to prohibited routes to augment earning.

One Jimie Bassey from Cross River State said he relocated to Lagos for greener pastures after buying his bike 2018.

He stated that situation took a difficult turn after government banned bike riders from operating in Lagos state.

He disclosed that he was making about N5,000 daily before the ban but now earn meager income from operating in nearby streets which, according to him, is barely enough to feed his family.

Also lamenting the ban, Mustapha  Ali from Kebbi explained how his brothers who rode commercial bikes in Lagos came home for Eid Maloud festival few years back told him stories of how the business was flourishing and how it had been sustaining them and that he should also come to Lagos in order to live a better life by starting same Okada business with them.

 According to Mustapha, things didn’t turn out as sweet as explained by his brothers. “Truthfully, it was going well for the first few months I came to Lagos. As at then, one of my brothers got me linked up with someone willing to lease his bike for weekly returns of N7,000. With this I was able to save enough to get buy myself a second bike and still able to send money to my family in the village,” he narrated.

Another banned rider, Samson Obasi from Delta State and a graduate of Abia State University said after graduating in 2015, he couldn’t get a good job for two years and he decided to start up an okada business in order to make ends.

Bello Mamuda, an okada rider in ijaye, said he would shuffle okada riding business with security job by doing his bike business in the afternoon till evening when he resumes night watch job at a complex in Ijaiye till day break.

He explained how tedious it has been shuffling the two jobs since the income from riding bike is not enough to settle his responsibility considering that he got the bike on hire purchase from a company and that he now has to ply his commercial biking on unpopular routes that yields very little.

Corroborating the hardship suffered from the ban, Kunle Adedeji who hails from Abeokuta where he left his family for Lagos in search of greener pastures said everything was going well until the ban on his Abule Egba to Oshodi route.

He lamented the ban has badly impacted relationship between him and his wife since he no longer earns enough to cater to his family. According to him he usually to home about N5,000 after paying all dues but now go home with a paltry of about N2,000.