Following weeks of rumors and a crackdown on commercial motorcyclists in Lagos state in January, the Lagos state government has officially banned motorcycles and tricycles in most parts of the state.

The ban applies to six areas in Lagos: Apapa, Surulere, Lagos Island, Eti Osa, Ikeja and Lagos Mainland.

Before today’s announcement, there was uncertainty as to whether the ban would affect mobility companies like ORide, and Gokada. 

The ban was announced via a video posted to Twitter from the account of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Lagos State Governor on New Media, Jubril Gawat. 

In the video, Gbenga Omotoso, the State’s Commissioner for information and strategy said: 

“After consultations with the stakeholders, the state security council, in compliance with the extant transport sector reform laws 2018 has decided to commence enforcement of the law which bans motorcycles and tricycles in the following Local Government and Local Council Development Areas.

Apapa, Apapa-Iganmu, Yaba, Lagos Mainland, Surulere, Itire-Ikate, Coker-Aguda, Ikeja, Onigbongbo, Ojodu, Eti-Osa, Ikoyi-Obalende, Lagos Island, Lagos Island LCDA. The full enforcement begins on February 1, 2020”

The Lagos state government says that the ban, which goes into effect on February 1, will affect these companies. The ban effectively restricts their areas of operation in the state.

A History of Tussle Between Mobility Companies And Lagos State 

Today’s ban comes against a background of negotiations and horse trading since 2018. Bike hailing companies were operating in a regulatory grey area since Lagos traffic laws ban motorcycle transport from 400 roads. In July 2019, the government proposed a ₦25 million registration fee for players in the sector. This marked the beginning of negotiations.

A few months after the proposal came to light, new negotiations between the government, NURTW and mobility companies led to a new agreement in November 2019. The unions imposed a ₦500($1.37)/bike fee daily to operate across Lagos. 

But this did not lead to a resolution. In December, the government continued to meet over enforcements of the Lagos State traffic law. 

On January 12, a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso restated the government’s position on commercial motorcycles and tricycle transportation.

 The commissioner said: “Their operations were restricted on 475 roads, including highways and bridges.”

“We cannot fold our arms and watch them disrupt the peace of the State. Over 1500 accidents involving tricycles were reported across the State from 2015 till 2019 while over 70 died and 250 were injured.”

How Will Residents Commute With The New Ban?

The Lagos state government says that it will roll out buses for the areas where motorcycles have been banned, with assurances that these areas will be “adequately covered”.

Despite this assurance, commuters have cause to be worried. A similar ban on the 20th of January saw many areas empty of commercial motorcycle activity. Many residents had to walk long distances in interior areas where buses do not operate. 

At the time of this report, a representative of ORide had not responded to multiple phone calls or a request for a quote, while a promised to get back to TechCabal. 

This is a developing story 

Olumuyiwa Olowogboyega Author

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