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RegulateNotBan: #OccupyLagos protesters storm Lagos City Marathon, tell Sanwoolu to halt Okada ban

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PROTESTERS on Saturday stormed the venue of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon challenge in the state to demonstrate against recent ban on the use of commercial motorcycle in selected parts of Lagos.

The protesters told Babajide Sanwoolu, the State Governor to regulate the mode of transportation rather than the entire ban.

Since the prohibition took effect, Lagosians have kicked against the policy largely described as anti -people.

Some of the protesters, today had placards with various inscriptions such as, ‘Regulate Not Ban’, ‘Okada Keke Ban Day 8’, ‘You Do Not Build A Megacity By Hiding the poor’, ‘Metropolitan Not Trekopolitan’, ‘Children Are Walking, Students Are Walking, Workers Are Walking, Lagos Is Walking,” and lots more.

They challenged the state government to reverse its decision.

It could be recalled that shortly after the ban, the state government justified its action saying ‘Okada’ and ‘Keke’ operations are used for criminal activities such as robbery.

The state labelled the mode of transportation as a symbol of poverty.

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This however followed violent protest which involved burning of government properties, attacking of government long buses and burning of tires and disruption of normal business activities.

The state went further to launch Lagferry, the State boat service to address the transportation gap.

On Friday 7th February, Babatunde Fashola, former Governor of Lagos state also agreed with the current policy. He said as the centre of excellence, motorcycles cannot be the preferred choice of transportation.

“So, for those concerned about insecurity in Lagos State, get behind your governor on the position that he has taken. I do not dismiss the concerns that have been raised on the other side, but a price must be paid. It’s a trade-off between our inconvenience and our existence,” Fashola stated.

“I know that work is going on with the trains, I know that ferries are being installed and they would take some time but in our now interest, we should bear with the government.”

But, Rotimi Amaechi distanced himself from the Ban.

According to him, the state government has the liberty to execute policies it deemed it necessary to achieve its set goal.

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“Implementation of transport policy is essentially a state affair. So you can’t be telling a state whether they want Okada or tricycles or not. That’s not our responsibility. It is for the state government to decide what to do,” Amaechi stated.

“I don’t know the reason why the governor of Lagos state banned it; only he can tell you. I am sure he made his decision based on the interests of a majority of Lagosians.”

Every attempt to appeal to the state government has also failed while protesters remain hopeful the state government would reconsider its position.

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Olugbenga is an Investigative Reporter with The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at oadanikin@icirnigeria.org. Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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