Give Us Jobs or Leave Us Alone, Okada Riders Tell Sanwo-Olu

Segun James

Thousands of commercial motorcycle riders, popularly called Okada, yesterday, stormed the office of the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, to protest against the recent ban on okada operations in certain parts of the state by the government.

The protesters, who came with demands on the governor, said he should either reconsider his decision on the ban on Okada or provide them job, saying the agony of job loss would be too painful to bear by them and their families.

According to them, the government should have a rethink on the fresh ban placed recently in four additional Local Governments (LGs) and six Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs), effective from September 1, 2022.

The protesters, who gathered at the gate leading to the Lagos State House of Assembly Complex, while the police prevented them from entering the governor’s office. 

They insisted that the decision by the government to ban okada in the affected areas might lead to a total ban on Okada operation in the state by December, and considering the poor state of the nation’s economy, it might lead to loss of means of livelihood for thousands of riders.

They also noted that should the ban remain in place, the crime rate in the state could increase as many might be forced into nefarious activities to meet up with their obligations as there was no legitimate alternative to source income to meet their family obligations.

According to their spokesman, Adeleke Adegboyega, who is Zone S Chairman in charge of Kosofe, they came to plead with Sanwo-Olu to reconsider the ban on okada, because the present situation in the country could not support the decision.

Adegboyega said with the ban, more than 20,000 riders would be affected, noting that on average, an operator had at least 10 family members he had to cater to, wondering what would become of such a person’s fate thereafter.

“We are pleading with the government to have a rethink on the ban. Those who are doing legitimate business would not commit crimes. We are not criminals. Government should not allow people to go into crime. If you asked that they (okada riders) should stop doing their business, people would go into crime.

“Crimes are not committed alone with okada. Look at the issue of the train attack in Kaduna, they were not committed by those who are legitimately engaged in okada business.I beg the government to see what they can do. On our part, we are doing our best possible to sanitize our members. The solution is not to impose a ban on okada business in the state,” he said.

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