We do not hesitate to align with recent calls by notable members of the Nigerian public for a total ban on the operation of commercial motorcyclists, also known as okada in the entire Federal Capital Territory.
In this wise, we recall that in 2014, there was groundswell of similar calls which with benefit of hindsight, ought to have been heeded by the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA.
Alongside its very many disadvantages, the peculiar security risk most okada operators pose in the FCT is unimaginable.
For instance, not a few criminal cases have been linked to their operators, even as cases of stolen automobiles abound. There is also the issue of lack of documentation of both the operators and their motorcycles. The temerity with which they ply the roads with motorcycles without number plates, underlines the serious implications of their presence.
If we may stop to ask: How will relevant authorities react when overnight, our roads are plied with commercial motor vehicles also known as taxi cabs without number plates and other registration details that qualify them to operate commercial services?
To push the issue further, it will only take a simple, random sampling by the authorities to realise that almost all commercial motorcyclists in the FCT do not possess relevant drivers’ licences.
The development has simply reduced the system people simply getting a motorcycle from anywhere; find a way to push it into the areas that okada services are allowed in the FCT; spend a weekend to grasp some knowledge of the targeted operational area, and voila, one is in business. Just like that!
Accordingly, we queue behind the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, in its call for a total ban on
commercial motorcycles in the FCT.
The Commission’s FCT Sector Commander, Mrs. Susan Ajenge, who disclosed the need, told journalists that the measure will ensure sanity and traffic safety in the FCT.
Hinging her argument on the ban of Okada operators within the city centre which she confirmed has drastically reduced the rate of accidents in the area, the Commander argued that extending the ban to the entire FCT will allow for better results.
She added that before the ban of Okada operations in the city centre, hospitals and emergency wards were always filled with Okada accidents’ victims, same with mortuaries, adding that this has drastically reduced as a result of the ban.
“The same ban should be extended to every part of the territory so that safety and sanity can be achieved in those satellite towns that they operate. People always think it will bring about hardship on the general public but the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages,” the FRSC chief said.
We couldn’t agree less. The reason is simple. No fewer than 20 commercial motorcyclists are arrested on a daily basis but they keep on plying the highways and causing fatal accidents by riding carelessly on the roads.
Instructively, the Commission had cause to lament recently that while it is doing its best to apprehend traffic violators among commercial motorcyclists in the FCT, the numbers of violators continue increase.
Alongside the telling security implications of the continued defiant conduct of motorcycle operators in the FCT, with all the illegalities that underscore their operations, we hold that the time to completely ban the operation of Okada in the FCT is now. It will not kill anyone but will provide safer, saner roads while the public will be made to patronise other means of transportation that are safer.

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