- Super Eagles to face Adidas XI
- Monaco confirm €70 million deal for Moutinho and Rodriguez from Porto
- Manchester United sack Ferguson’s assistants
- It’s official: Europa League winners to get Champions League spot from 2015
- Asari Dokubo is a coward who will flee if war breaks out – Northern elders
- Chido Onumah: The Achebe I knew
- Manchester City chief expects new manager to win five trophies in five years
- If Arsenal wants me, Aston Villa cannot stop me from moving – Benteke
- Jonathan should resign and give way to competent hand to rule Nigeria – Buhari
- My two daughters have Masters degrees, but they are still jobless – El-Rufai
Matilda Orhewere: Lagos State Traffic Law And Commercial Motorbike Operators
The use of motorbikes as a means of commercial transportation did not become popular until after the 80s. Prior to this time, people had used many variants of motorbikes for personal transportation and for sport. Motorbikes were very popular with women of the east central states of Nigeria and many of them received motorbikes as part of items for their boudoir when they got married. The Vespa was the favorite of Nigerians from the north while dispatch riders and a few newspaper vendors who could afford it circulated newspapers using their motorbikes as transport.
Failure of the few taxis and commuter buses to provide adequate commercial transport service, bad roads and traffic congestion combined to give acceptability to commercial motorbikes in Nigeria. The revolution started in city centers like Lagos and then Abuja and ever since, there has been an astronomical rise in the business of using motorbikes for commercial transportation.
Many artisans and craftsmen have taken to operating commercial motorbikes and this has posed a major challenge to employers of labour are faced with a scarcity of manpower. Many criminal activities have been traced to operators of commercial motorbikes and many states have made futile attempts to eradicate the operations of commercial motorbikes. There was a time a semi ban was placed on the operations of commercial motorbikes in Lagos State between 7pm and 7am and as soon as government seemed to cease to enforce the semi ban, they gradually reverted to status quo. The new traffic law has not placed any ban on the operations of commercial motorbikes in Lagos; rather it has set out to moderate the operations of commercial motorbikes in Lagos.
Civilized societies that we desire to emulate have moved beyond the level of using commercial motorbikes as a means of transportation. The use of commercial motorbikes was effectively banned in Abuja by the then Minister for Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai between 2005 and 2006 and the ban was enforced to the letter. People discovered other means of livelihood and transportation in Abuja did not become paralyzed as many people feared.
People who patronize commercial motorbike service have every reason to be apprehensive as we see there is virtually no age limit to registration of operators. We see young boys who toy around with bikes for a few days and the next thing they are ready to start business. Too many avoidable accidents have occurred that involved such unsuitable individuals as operators. We see young men who are supposed to be in school or in training for one vocation or the other who are on the streets operating motorbikes for individuals who they ‘deliver’ money to at the end of each day. They receive a stipend that practically exposes them to every suggestion of crime.
As the number of operators increased, they were able to form a union that has grown to become a formidable force in the transport service industry of many states of Nigeria. The unions are so well structured that governments like Edo and Lagos State recognize them and give them some attention and concession. The Lagos State Traffic Law 2012 is being contested by the union by the union who asked the state government to suspend implementation of the law. There are also recommendations that Lagos State reviews the law in favour of commercial motorbike operators of Lagos State to prevent increase in crime.
The Lagos State government in a meeting with the Association of Commercial Motorbike operators on Tuesday, 12th September,2012 took a firm stand cautioning operators of commercial motorbikes who plan to continue operating in Lagos State to comply with the new traffic law or face the consequences as prescribed by the law. The Lagos State government has proffered alternatives in advising operators who considered the law too stiff to take up a form of skill acquisition training or try their hands in professional farming.
Using the Abuja template of banning, enforcing and ban and providing alternative sources of livelihood proved effective at that time. Implementing the law, enforcing the law and introducing effective control measures to prevent deviation or compromise will go a long way to help the Lagos State government moderate the operations of commercial motorbikes operators in Lagos.
GOD bless Nigeria.