Ban on Okada is insensitive, Max, Gokada tell Lagos government

Max Okada

Two motorcycle-hailing companies in Lagos have condemned the ban on the operations of commercial motorcyclists popularly known as Okada in 15 council areas of the state.

Lagos State Government on Monday announced the ban, saying it would take effect from February 1.

MAX and Gokada said in a joint press briefing on Wednesday that the government took the move without consultation.

They said the move would result in loss of investments running into millions of dollars and loss of jobs.

Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of MAX, Adetayo Bamiduro, said at the company’s office at Ikeja that despite making two million trips, the company’s riders had recorded “less than 100 incidents.”

He stressed that less than seven were serious and required hospital visits, adding that till date, the company had zero fatalities.

Bamiduro explained that the company’s motorcycle engines were all 220cc, a 10 per cent increase above the requirement of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law 2018.

He said: “We are also fully compliant with the requirement of the law prohibiting the operation of motorcycles without rider and passenger helmets, carrying more than one passenger, comprehensive insurance, in addition to other safety-related violations.

“This blanket directive extending the ban to commercial ride-hailing operators is therefore not in accordance with the extant law which guides us as a legal business.

“To keep them safe physically and mentally, our drivers are provided with smartphones, accident insurance, two helmets, branded clothing, and first aid equipment. Both drivers and passengers have accident insurance and the drivers, in addition, have functional HMOs.”

He insisted that the company was also paying its taxes to the government as riders paid levies to the National Union of Road Transport Workers as directed by the state.

Bamiduro said reputable international companies, including Novastar Ventures, Alitheia Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Yamaha and MasterCard, had invested a lot of money into the business and would be worried by the government’s decision.

He added that his firm would explore all lawful means to address the situation.

The Pilot Operational Manager of Gokada, Victor Daminabo, said his company had over 20,000 rides with no fatalities and that its drivers were being tracked in real-time.

Mr Daminabo added that they have the government “to come and see what we see.”