Last week, there was a community security meeting involving security officials, stakeholders and residents of the community, and therein it was resolved among other security issues that the vogue practice of two or more passengers on commerical motorcycles, also known as Okadas, in Ikorodu be proscribed.
This happening, for people who are not residents of Ikorodu, I must reveal to you has been a thing in Ikorodu. It is a practice that gets me piqued whenever I see such in effect. You ask these motorcylists why would they have someone join you on a motorcycle, and with arrogance, they tell you, “Oga, you go pay for two person?” As though a motorcycle is ideally meant to carry more than one passenger.
I have been to other places around Lagos and even outside Lagos, I find out that such practice is not the regular therein. Once you board a motorcycle, and you are alone, they charge you and don’t ask you to pay for two or are interested in having someone join you.
Now, I understand that doing this for these commercial motorcyclists is on the premise of profiteering. Of course, everyone wants to do business and make profit, but not make profit at the inconvenience of others.
There was a time in Lagos when the Babatunde Raji Fashola administration mandated all motorcyclists to put on helmet and give their passenger a helmet to put on as well. During the time, it was regulated that only one passenger be allowed on a motorcycle on transit. In recall of this, you ask yourself as a resident in Ikorodu: where has that regulation gone to?
I was talking to a resident the other day about this wrong practice, and according to him, while sharing my sentiment, he said that he cannot imagine his wife being on a motorcycle and having another man join her on the same motorcycle. He said he had warned his wife that whenever she wants to board a motorcycle to never allow another man join her at the back, and if it requires her paying for two seats, then she should go ahead, or better, opt for a tricycle.
This is just one of the several drawbacks of having the two-passengers practice.
I was also at a point in time in a conversation with a motorcyclist, and he confirmed to me that such practice indeed is prone to robbery as he said that there is a man around Ikorodu garage who would wait in the bus-stop furtively for a person to board a motorcycle. The moment he notices that an individual has boarded a motorcycle, he comes out and wants to be the second person with that individual on the motorcycle.
He revealed to me that this particular man is a pickpocket, and on different occasions, many have fallen victims of his thievery while he is behind them on a motorcycle on transit.
Thus, one is also not spared from the dangers of this practice in terms of the security of one’s belongings. At least, it is not a crime to want to board a motorcycle and move from one community to another community, but to have such being an outlet to lose valuables is a cause for concern.
Away from that, it will also interest you to note that on the health angle, such practice is yet a harm to be extirpated. You can’t predict the health status of individuals on the road. If you have them board the same motorcycle with you, any form of physical distance is non-existent, as such, diseases that are communicable can be transmuted whereas this could have been stemmed in such context if the two-passengers practice is never in existence. Or will you say that it is valid people contract diseases because they can’t afford to have a car to drive around?
The security chiefs must be commended for having spotlighted this as a practice to bring a hammer on, and have exculpated from the community in a bid to protect members of the community. The only concern right now is if the regulation will be enforced sustainably as much as it has been made.
While that remains to be seen it is muchly desired to serve as an extension of the protection of the lives and belongings of residents and even visitors in the community.
In all this, one valid question, however, is if such regulation won’t result in increase in cost of transportation via these motorcycles.
This is where also the government needs to come into place to ensure that these motorcyclists don’t get to spike the price of commuting on their motorcycles just because it has been restricted to one passenger. There should be a compromise for a fair price that makes for a win-win between the people and the motorcyclists themselves.
Agreeably, the country is hard and everyone is feeling the heat of the harsh economy. The price of petrol is higher than ever, the cost of living does not seem to be a respecter of the law of gravity.
These motorcyclists who get their daily income from being on the road also need to balance out living and commuting in light of their varied costs, and you surely expect that they do that via the income they make from what they do. But doing that, like I said to the inconvenience of others who are also feeling the heat of the economy is no way to go. So a compromise in terms of health, in terms of security, in terms of cost be considered and made a safe one for everyone.