Activists protest against Lagos traffic law, say it’s anti-people

Still pressing for a review of the new Lagos traffic law, particularly the ban on commercial motorcycle, popularly known as Okada, some notable activists converged in Lagos on Wednesday to condemn the action of the state government, describing it as “a bad law”.

Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Debo Adeniran, National President, Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF), Yerima Shettima; State Chairman, All Nigeria Automobile Commercial Owners and Workers Association (ANACOWA), Aliyu Wamba, among other human rights activists, converged opposite the Police College to express solidarity motorcyclist operators, warning the Babatunde Fashola government to reverse its stand on the ban.

All the speakers said the law is anti-people, hence it is being disobeyed and condemned by the people.

Shettima said “the ban on Okada riders is condemnable and Lagos state government must have a re-think and a review of their position.

“It is draconian and does not represent what this government seems to be professing as a progressive.

“This is not protest rather it is solidarity with the Okada operators in Lagos state which the state government banned.

“We felt the ban is uncalled for at this crucial time, we felt it is a wrong time, especially when our security issue has become a major threat so we must not allow things like this to compound the situation for us.

“We that are gathered here are leaders of various organisations and some of our followers; some of our members were among those that were affected.

“So, we deem it wise to come and solidarise with them, to tell the Lagos State government to have a re-think over the issue, since already they are in court”.

For Adeniran, “This is a bad law and anti-poor.  It is not only the operators that are suffering it but majority of Lagosians given the traffic situation in Lagos.

“There is no pedestrian way not to talk of special route for Okada riders. If they have provided alternative roads no Okada rider will want to ply highways and most of the roads are not passable by cars and buses.

‘’Some of the roads they banned Okada does not have passenger buses, taxes or even the three-wheeler tricyclists, so how do you expect people to get to where they want to go and on time.

“You wait for the BRT buses and they will not be there on time. They said when the BRT became operational that one bus will come after the other within the space of 15 minutes but of course we know it is not working as they claimed because you have to wait hours on end before they come.

“It is a bad law and that is why it is being broken, if it had been a good law nobody would want to break it.

“If it has been a good government nobody will want to oppose the law, it is because it is a government that is implementing anti-people, anti-poor policy.

“And if you are implementing anti-poor policy, you don’t expect them to cooperate with you.

Wamba asked government to be ‘’careful with its action because it means more people will join the unemployment queue and it may lead to increase in crime”.

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