NUMEROUS states across Nigeria are bracing themselves for a massive influx of motorcycle taxi drivers over the coming weeks following the recent ban placed on them by the Lagos State government that has made thousands of people unemployed.
Last week, Governor Babajide Sanwoolu announced widespread restrictions on the use of motorcycle taxis known as Okadas and tricycle taxis known as Kekes across Lagos State. Making thousands of people jobless overnight, the development has led to many of the tax drivers leaving Lagos and returning to their home states.
Along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway for instance, trailers have been loading hundreds of motorcycles as they prepare to transport them to northern Nigeria. Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti states are bracing themselves for a massive influx of these taxi drivers and are even considering imposing their own ban on them in case they plan to relocate their operations.
In Adamawa State, a large number of these drivers have already arrived and the Nigerian Army have detained many of them to ascertain they are who they claim they are and not terrorists. Over the next few weeks, most states are going to have to grapple with the effects of assimilating these drivers.
It is not yet clear what will happen to licensed and registered operators who work for companies like Gokada, ORide, OPay and Max. These companies have invested about $100m in the sector and their uniformed drivers are registered and regulated and are easily identifiable.
There are calls for the Lagos State government to at least lift the ban on these licensed operators as they do not pose any security risk whatsoever. It is not yet clear how the Lagos State government intends to react to this as the ban has led to widespread hardship, a spike in transport prices, commuters having to trek long distances, massive unemployment and the threat of a spike in crime.