Regulate, don’t starve us, protesting Okada riders tell Sanwo-Olu

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By Benjamin Omoike

Hundreds of commercial motorcyclists on Friday stormed the Lagos State House of Assembly at Alausa, protesting the recent order by the government barring them from operating in some key areas of the state.

The operators, who are Gokada, Oride, and Max commercial motorcyclists, stormed the Assembly in large numbers, accusing the state government of being insensitive to their plight.

The protesters at Alausa … on Friday

They demanded that  than outright  ban, the government should regulate their operations as many of them depend on it for their livelihood.

One of the representatives of the protesters, Steve Orajiakwu of Oride, said they were not consulted before the ban was announced by the state government.

“We are not happy with the way the ban was done. We are running a democratic government and when decisions that concern the lives of people are to be made by government, the people should be consulted.Whatever government did is not good for us. We were never invited for debate. We know government is concerned about security and lives of people as well as influx of some people from certain regions of the country.

“But we are professionals. Our bikes have tracking devices and camera. We went for blood and eye tests. We went for for intensive trainings. Government should call us and see possibility of regulating us,” he lamented.

Also lamenting the effects the ban will have on their livelihood, Uche Ekemiri of Gokada said: “We pay tax to government and we are ready to have license. Government just woke up one day and ban us and I don’t see reasons they should ban us. This is what we do for living.”

A female operator, Ebina Sandra, of G-Pilot said the proceeds from riding commercial motorcycles has helped her to further her education and appealed to the state government to have a rethink.

“I am an Accountant and finished my OND from Yaba Tech. This is the job i do to train myself in school. If I leave this job, there is nothing else for me to do. Government should regulate us and not ban us. We are professionals. This is what we do to feed our families. Where do we go from here,” she lamented.

In his response, Hon. Bisi Yusuff representing Alimosho Constituency 1, who spoke on behalf of the Speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, commended the protesters for peaceful demonstration, but urged them to abide with the new ban pending when the state government will decide on their request.

“Protest is an ingredient of democracy. We commend you for peaceful demonstration. We will go through your petition. However, we urge you to keep cool and keep to the law until we call you back. Government has made pronouncement on the issue. Don’t allow anybody to hijack the protest because you will be held responsible for it. Very soon, we will call you. Maintain the law. It is when government sees your conduct, they will know what to do,” he said.

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