Leaders of the Hausa community in Lagos State have appealed to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to reverse the ban on Okada operations in six local government areas of the state.
The leaders pointed out that the Hausa community has a huge voting population in Lagos state and they contribute to votes during election.
Following the lynching and burning of David Imoh, aka David Sound, by commercial motorcyclists, the Lagos State Governor announced a ban on the operations of commercial motorcycle riders in six Local Governments and nine Local Government Development Areas in the state.
“We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use that mode of transportation to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos. Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws,” Sanwo-Olu said as he banned commercial motorcycles.
He added: “The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement.”
Some Hausa leaders have begged Sanwo-Olu to rethink its decision.
The Seriki of Obalende, Saliu Waziri, told Punch that rather than ban commercial motorcyclists, many of whom are from northern Nigeria, the government should get the data of Okada riders in Lagos to fish out any intruder or criminally-minded fellows.
He said: “This issue has taken us a long time and we have been trying to put our members on the line. I want to advise the government to rethink its decision because Lagos can’t operate without bikes because of traffic. Government should register Okada riders in each local government to know those working in any local government. By so doing, the government would know who to pick when any issue arises.
“Some of our members stay here in Lagos and vote during elections. That should count for something because we contribute to votes during elections. The government should change the system of Okada riders not stopping them.”
The Seriki Hausa of Ajah, Ibrahim Ngoma, agreed with his Obalende counterpart that the government should consider the voting population of Hausa Okada riders in Lagos.
He said: “Truth be told, Governor Sanwo-Olu has been understanding with Okada people unlike Governor (Babatunde) Fashola. Okada members should obey the law while I appeal to Governor Sanwo-Olu to look into the matter and lift the ban before the election because the ban is affecting my people.”
Another leader of the Hausa community in Lagos, Iliyasu Kira, pleaded with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to reverse the ban.
He said during his chat with the publication: “I appeal to the government to leave Okada riders to continue their operations. These Okada riders help the government during elections with votes. Our voting population in Lagos constitutes over 2.7 million because most of us vote here in Lagos. We are not all bad people.
“Many of our people are Okada riders in Lagos. If the government claims that robbers are rampant among Okada riders, then the government should sieve out the criminals. The government should provide replacement for our members affected by the ban.
“We don’t have the power to start any legal case with the government. This is why I am appealing with the government to reconsider the ban.”