A non-governmental organisation (NGO), “The Concerned Lagosians,” has described the recent ban placed by the Lagos State government on operators of Okada and Keke Marwa from plying some local government areas in the state as “insensitive, wicked, rash and deliberately vindictive.”
The group said this on Sunday in a release issued and signed by its coordinator, Hon. Babatunde Joseph, calling for its immediate reversal to avoid a situation where nearly all Lagosians could become victims of hordes of unemployed youths who might be forced into untoward activities to survive, due to the ban.
“This should be reversed immediately, lest we all become victims of hordes of unemployed youths who may be forced into unsavoury activities to survive,” the group said.
The coordinator, while further describing the latest decision by the state government as hasty, unreflective and indifferent to the consequences and the impact on the electorate, said such was quite typical of the successive governments in Lagos.
According to Joseph, with the ban, young men and women who were forced to ride Okada and Keke Marwa because of the harsh unemployment situation are now cruelly thrown out of their only means of survival to feed their families, wondering: “What kind of a government that claims an alleged mandate of the people will treat law-abiding, well-meaning Nigerians with this kind of arrogant contempt?
“It befuddles. It overturns rationality,” the group coordinator lamented, declaring that the excuse that some operators were “using these necessary means of transportation to commit crimes does not cut it.
“It is no defence but a woolly-headed, thoughtless refuge. Equally, the point about this crucial transportation system being susceptible to accidents is also invalid,” he added.
“Already, thousands of commuters were stranded yesterday because of the inadequate transportation system in a widening metropolis. The Okada and the Keke Marwa riders fill this lacuna. Now commuters must trek endlessly in the sun to get to their various destinations. This is not right,” Joseph further lamented.
He said what the government should do instead is to “enforce the training of the riders, insist they get some kind of riding license, mandate seminars and other enlightenment campaigns to enhance the riders’ effectiveness,” declaring that banning them from plying their business “in this abrupt, tyrannical manner” was dangerous, unkind, cruel and an avenue to turning them into potential criminals.
“Taking away their livelihood in this abrupt, tyrannical manner is dangerous, unkind, cruel and it is implicitly creating an incubation of potential criminals,” Joseph said.