Okada: How Lagos State Govt. Created Laws To Make Money

Photo of a woman on ‘Okada’with a baby strapped to her back at Epe Expressway, Lagos, Nigeria

 Credit: Fort News Photojournalist

Lagos and indeed Nigeria is a society that is never short of laws. Everyday, new laws and regulations are made in Lagos by the authorities to, as it were, regulate the activities of residents so as to ensure safety, security and peaceful habitation.

Different government comes with different laws, regulations and rules, but only few of these laws, regulations and rules were made with noble and genuine intentions. 

Some few years ago in Lagos, riding Motorcycles popularly referred to as  Okada àwithout crash helmet especially on the highways was a serious crime. Offenders were arrested, their Okada confiscated until a stipulated fine, usually between #13,000 and #28,000 was paid. 

The police, one of the most corrupt law- enforcement agencies, took advantage of this law to defraud the Okada riders of their hard-earned money.

Some rich individuals in government, who actually created the law immediately started the importation of crash helmet into the country so as to make more from these poor Okada riders.

Few months after, the government and the individuals who created the law realized that the business of importing crash helmets was no longer lucrative. That marked the end of the law.

While the Okada riders were still dancing and praising God over the death of the crash helmet law, the government announced the ban on Bajaj Motorcycles which was the type used by Okada riders. In it’s place, government announced that power bikes should be used by Okada riders.
Immediately after the announcement was made, wife of Fashola, who was then the governor of Lagos, in collaboration with others who created the law to make money started importing power bikes which were refurbished in China.

Several people especially Okada riders at that time were beaten up and humiliated by the police simply because they could not afford the power bike as stipulated by the law.

Again, like the crash helmet law, this new law disappeared when Lagosians and especially Okada riders could no longer afford the Mrs. Fashola power bikes.

Until government makes laws that are noble and in the interest of the common man, Nigerians will continue to operate against the law and the law will become and of no effect like the law regulating Okada riders in Lagos.


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