Are commercial motorcyclists necessary evils?

Although commercial motorcycles popularly known as ‘okada’ were banned from major routes in Lagos State and some states recently, the cyclists are returning to these prohibited routes, with resultant effects on crime in the urban centres. This has prompted Lagos to consider a total ban on commercial motorcycles in the state. While some believe the motorcycles provide a viable means of employment or supplementary income for citizens, others insist they aid and abet criminals to rob members of the public. To you, will a ban on the commercial motorcycles help reduce or increase crime?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* The current idea being mooted by Lagos State to outrightly ban motor cycles is a welcome development. Motorcycles have been linked to all the evil things that have been happening in Nigeria from reconnaissance of people’s homes for armed robbery to kidnapping. The worst is the attitude of the majority of illiterate motorcyclists who don’t understand the road signs and continuously ride against traffic, constituting themselves into nuisances. Let them be banned and relegated to rural areas.
– Prof. Kate Nwufo, mni, Abuja

* The risk far outweighs the benefits both for the commercial motorcycle riders and citizens.
– Miss Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos

* In most cities of Nigeria as at 1990, motorcycle was not known as means of transportation. Okada may have aided crime and road accidents, but it has also brought food to the table of some. While I am not against the ban on motorcycle as a means of transportation, it is my opinion that the government must create an alternative transport system and business /enterprise engagement for those currently into okada transport business, to nip crime in the bud.
– Mr. Okechukwu Ikonne, Ogbor, Oke-Ovoro Mbaise, Imo State

* It is a tricky question.
– Mr. Elue Chibututu, Lagos

* The use of commercial motorcycles has increased the crime rate in many parts of the country. Their smooth maneuverability through vehicular traffic, as well as their suitability for use in many bad roads, make them good tools for the swift execution of crimes. The use of this means of conveyance should, therefore, be banned in all urban centres, but be restricted to 6.30 am – 6.30pm in rural areas.
– Mr. Neville Kikpoye-Jonathan, President, Abua National Associates, Amalem-Abua, Rivers State

* I believe the security agencies must do their work.
– Mr. Feyisetan Akeeb Kareem, Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State

* I doubt that we’ve ever had a way of measuring crime rate in this country, so we may not be able to strongly point at the fact that crime might be increased or reduced by a ban on ‘Okada’. It is however debatable. I sincerely see Okada transportation as a connotation of poverty and we should do away with everything that connotes poverty. Beyond crime, there’s no doubt about the fact that with Okadas off our roads lives have been saved and injuries averted.
– Mr. Leslie Magnus-Lawson, Lagos State

* As we all know that this class of people aid crime in our nation, banning them would indeed add to more crime, instead of reducing it. Crime is mostly caused by poverty. The motorcycle commercial operators use their trade to earn a living. Banning them would add to the millions of unemployed and we would have more criminals.
– Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna State

* Yes, a total ban on commercial motorcycles, especially in major cities, will very drastically reduce crime generally. They are directly and indirectly or remotely involved and responsible for kidnappings, robberies, assassinations, pipeline vandalism, murders and ritual, various accidents, reprisal attacks, drugs addiction and breach of public peace e.t.c. They monitor the citizenry and furnish criminals with information that keep them ahead of security. Let them go as they are a big threat or drawback.
– Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* Commercial motorcycles, if totally banned, will increase crime. Let them be banned from major routes.
– Mr. Agada Friday, Engineer, Ikorodu, Lagos State

* Ban on commercial motorcycles will escalate crime to higher than expected dimension. Throwing those cyclists out of jobs will lead to social economic crises unnecessarily. Many of our deplorable roads can only be accessed and plied by motorcycles e.t.c. A pocket of manageable incidences here and there are not enough to throw away the baby and the bath water. After all, we have the laws and security personnel to maintain law and order. Street urchins must be arrested aptly before they turn violent unjustly. Government must retain and update our securities on how to tackle evolving security challenges.
– Ms. Saiki Tina Ometere, Gboko, Benue State

* I candidly do not believe a blanket ban on the okada is the way to go. There are people involved in importing these machines. What happens to them? The ban won’t necessarily reduce crime. Please let us seek advice from Mr. Fashola, he solved Lagos State’s molue drivers’ issue.
– Mr. Ekwenjo Iheanyi Chukwudi, BAR, Apo, Abuja

* Ban on commercial motorcycles will reduce crime tremendously. They are actively involved in robbery accidents, kidnapping, violent public demonstrations, dangerous overtaking, plying against traffic or one way e.t.c. resulting in loss of lives and consent, police stations e.t.c. and Igbobi orthopeadic hospital abound with evidence of their recklessness.
– Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* I believe before Lagos State government should ban okada riding totally, let them provide the riders with soft landing of jobs creation before riders turn Lagos state into something else. Let the government have a rethink on the ban despite the incidences of robbery and other ungodly acts by the commercial motorcycle riders. Government should give them period of grace to look for other things to do.
– Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* Ban on commercial motorcycles will definitely increase crime. When all the operators are thrown out of business and their source of livelihood, they will not just fold their hands. Remember that crimes are also done with cars, legs and hands; must we cut them off to take away something from okada riders? Give them something to hold; create something for them and the problem will not be too much.
– Rev. Eme Charles Dennis, Divine Love Ministries, Agbor, Delta State

* It does check crime, its means of livelihood but there are alternatives. It is not also an ideal mode of commercial transport for becoming a modern nation we are aspiring to be. We must go back to rail simply because of its potential of creating thousands of jobs and possibly hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs. Intercity as well as interstate rail transport is ideal. Our laws regarding rail should be changed in order to accommodate private sector investment and infrastructure.
– Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* Commercial motorcycles should not be banned but their movement and conduct should be strictly monitored and severe sanctions applied on defaulters which will reduce crime. The era of mobile traffic courts in Lagos should be used to curb the excesses of any wayward cyclist. They remain useful to save time and to access unmotorable areas.
– Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

THE RESPONSE
It will increase crime: 5
No, it will reduce crime: 3
Others: 9
Radical tip: Develop rail!
Total no of respondents: 17
Male: 13
Female: 4
Highest location: Lagos (7)

Next Week: Can Jailing an Ex-Gov Help Curb Corruption in Nigeria?
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has for years been prosecuting some former governors who no longer enjoy immunity under the Constitution. However, not one conviction and sentencing has been secured till date. Some people believe that if just one of these ex-governors is successfully prosecuted and jailed, then it would serve as a huge deterrent to looters and potential corrupt public officials. Do you agree with this assertion or corruption can never end in Nigeria?

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (March 17 & Monday (March 21) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, March 24