The Federal Government has disclosed of plans to deploy a sustainable mass transit system capable of serving all Nigerians.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye gave the assurance on Thursday in Abuja while speaking at the Annual Strategic Stakeholders Summit of the Amalgamated Tricycle and Motorcycle Owners, Repairs and Riders Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN) with the theme: “Mutually Beneficial Integration of motorcycles and Tricycles into Public Transportation System in Nigeria: The Harmless Approach”.
According to him, “the Federal Government under the leadership of our father and leader, President Muhammadu Buhari is also desirous of putting in place, a mass transit system that will not fail like those of the past. It is true that several Governments in the past have done one or two things to promote mass transit and ensure that our people are able to move from one place to the other seamlessly and easily” but this administration will go further to deploy one that is sustainable, the Minister assured.
On the ban of motorcycles, Adegoroye informed that the Federal Government has not taken a concrete decision to ban the operation of motorcycles, popularly called Okada, as a form of commercial transportation in the country.
“The Federal Executive Council (FEC) which is the highest decision making body in the country, has not taken any decision on the ban of Okada”. ” Let me assure you and assure ACOMORAN that there is no decision to ban okada”, he added.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Summit and former Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Ameachi, charged ACOMORAN, to regulate itself and conform to safety standards to guarantee being accommodated in the transportation system.
He also stated that the stereotype that tricycles and motorcycles are bad can be corrected if their members are fully regulated and reoriented in terms of value addition to their operations.
Earlier in her keynote address, former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter – governmental Affairs, Dr. Anthonia Akpabio Ekpa, advised that reconstruction of roads in the country should be given paramount attention since most people travel by road, adding that a seamless transportation database will be invaluable.
She further advised that regulatory agency be created to digitalise and regulate the operations of motorcycles in Nigeria to ensure seamless operations.
“We should come together, put our heads and study the situation of other countries that have their transportation system working to enable our citizens and those legitimate in the business operate”. She said.
Ekpa also urged the Ministry of Transportation to provide regulation and policy framework, as the Ministry that has the primary responsibilty of policy formulation and implementation.
On his part, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Land Transport, Hon. Tajudeen stated that as legislators, they are ready to assist the Association in making enabling laws that will provide adequate peace and security in the transport sub- sector as it is imperative for government to ensure that the lives and property of its citizens are protected.
He further stated that the motorcycles and tricycles mode of transportation is now used by bandits to aid criminal activities and this menace has put fear in the minds of commuters and the general public, he, therefore urged the association to identify such members and ensure they are prosecuted.
While acknowledging the importance of the operators as available statistics have shown that they have contributed mmensely to the nation’s GDP, he called upon the association to ensure training and retraining of its members by the academia and security agencies.
The lawmaker also called on the association to have a database of all its members as this will make monitoring of their operations easier.
Earlier, the National President of ACOMORAN, Samsudeen Apelogun, identified unemployment as one of the major factors that brought motorcycles and tricycles into the transportation system. Many of the raiders, he said, were graduates who took to the trade to make a living and improve their fortunes owing to the dwindling economy.
” It is an open discussion that our operations in a few States in the country are being restricted and riders motorcycles are confiscated and destroyed, which affects many innocent riders who took loans to buy motorbikes. These include young graduates who tried unsuccessfully to find gainful employment”, he said.
According to him, the Government hinged it decision to ban Okada on two factors. Accident and insecurity, arguing that as an
association, they responding by organizing train the trainer workshops where members will be educated on operational safety.
“We have and will continue to appeal to the Government at all levels to consider the interest of the generality of Nigerians, especially those at the lowest part of the economic ladder when formulating policies”, he concluded.