Ilupeju Residents have their say on Okada Ban in Lagos State.
The recent ban on bikes and tricycles popularly known as Okada and Keke in Lagos state came as a rude shock to many Lagosians.
While some were in support of the state government’s decision, some citizens believed that it was not the appropriate time for such a ban as there were no viable alternatives.
The TS team went on the streets of Ilupeju and its environs to capture the opinions of the residents on the effect of the ban on their personal lives and businesses.
For Abiodun Awoniyi, a resident of Ilupeju, the ban has affected her business as she could not move her wares to her shop like she used to before the ban. Now, she has to ask for assistance from her neighbour.
Mrs. Lawal who is a businesswoman in Ilupeju said that her children feel the pain more as they now trek to school. In her words, “Now if I want to go to Oshodi from here to run some errands, I can’t find Okada or Marwa to run those errands.”
David Olutosin thinks Keke Marwa should not be banned but its use should be modified. He said, “I work and live in Ilupeju and unlike before that I just come out of my house and take a bike to work, I have to trek, same as my wife too. If a path can be created for Marwa, it would be better.”
In Joseph Ajayi’s words, “I work here in Ilupeju and I usually use my Okada to transport myself to and from Ilupeju, not to carry passengers, but now I can’t use it. As a Vulcanizer who usually does repairs too for Okada/Marwa, business has been poor. I believe uniforms can be given to them in Ilupeju for identification so that anybody seeing them will know that these people operate within the Ilupeju axis. The ones who work on the express are wrong, but for those who use Keke Marwa within the community, I think identification is okay.”
Opeyemi seems to agree with Joseph. According to her, some routes should be banned, like the highways, but not within the community.
Alhaja Abass feels the ban has increased the size of the crowd at bus stops with no commensurate buses to cater to them. “It’s just that the amount of people at the bus stop is now alarming and there aren’t enough buses to cater to the needs of the people within the community. Even before now, many passengers sit here to wait for means of transportation, but now, the number has tripled,” she noted.
Mrs. Omowunmi Quadri expressed mixed feelings. While supporting the ban of Okadas on the roads, she couldn’t help but lament on the effect the ban of Keke as well has brought upon her. “I do not even support Okada moving on the expressway, but the ban on Keke too has affected us. As you can see now, I am going to Coker road from Adesiyan and normally, I go there on Okada, but I can’t find Marwa or Okada, so I will have to trek down there. Even when the ban was just effected, I trekked from here to Oshodi. If I manage to see Okada or Marwa now, the price will be inflated,” she noted.
According to Eze Uche Peter, a resident in Ilupeju, the story is the same as he too has been finding it difficult to commute freely since the ban. He implored the government to provide an alternative to bikes and tricycles. “Commuting using Okada or Marwa inside the community here has been of help and has relieved us of the stress of queuing for buses at the bus stop. Truly, the way they drive and overtake can sometimes leave one speechless and lead to accidents, but the government can re-introduce the use of safety helmets for the people involved. I know safety is very important, but once you are with the right equipment, then you are good to go,” he said.
Adekunle Damilola doesn’t seem to be perturbed as he has no problem trekking. “I have a car, but most times, I prefer to walk to wherever I’m going especially if it’s within the streets. As you can see now, I am coming from First Bank and I am going to Ilupeju and I have decided to take a walk especially for safety purposes.
But Etim Okon does not share the same view. According to him, it’s been a bit hard for him to move since the ban, especially when he has luggage to carry. “I believe small buses can be provided to make it easier for the people living within the community because even now, the prices of Okada have been inflated,” he noted.
For Tosin Adeyemi and Jennifer Abu, there should be an alternative even if the government would ban bicycles and tricycles. According to Abu, most of her colleagues who live outside Ilupeju have been complaining about not making it to work early due to the ban.