Nigeria: No, the Governor of Nigeria’s Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Has Not Lifted Ban On Popular Okada Motorcycle Taxis

IN SHORT: The governor of Lagos state has appeared to be busy in the run-up to the 18 March 2023 elections, in the hope of being re-elected. But it’s not true he has unbanned okada – commercial motorcycles – anywhere in the state.

A post circulating on Facebook in Nigeria claims that Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has unbanned okada in the state.

Okada refers to the commercial motorcycle popularly used as a taxi in Nigeria.

“GOV. SANWO-OLU has unbanned Okada taxi, he is freely releasing vehicles forcefully impounded by the government, he has paid pensioners, he is meeting the people personally … all of these happening within just one week!” the post reads.

Sanwo-Olu banned the operation of okada in 10 local government areas and 15 local council development areas in May and August 2022. This, he said, was because of the “increasing threat” posed by okada drivers to “security and safety of lives”.

Sanwo-Olu hopes to return to office for another four years after the governorship and state assembly elections on 18 March 2023. He has been actively campaigning following the outcome of the 25 February presidential election in which his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress, narrowly lost to the opposition Labour Party in Lagos state.

Days after the results of the presidential election were announced, Sanwo-Olu ordered the free release of impounded vehicles, visited markets and churches, and gave media interviews. According to a media report from early March, the governor also ordered the payment of N1.2 billion to pensioners in the state.

The Facebook post implies that the governor did all of this and lifted the ban on okada only because he wants people to re-elect him.

The same claim also appeared on Facebook here, here and here.

But did Sanwo-Olu lift the ban on okada?

‘He has not,’ says governor’s spokesperson

Sanwo-Olu’s spokesperson, Gboyega Akosile, told Africa Check that the governor had not lifted the ban on okada.

If the governor had done so, it would have been widely reported in the Nigerian media, but this was not the case.

A search of Sanwo-Olu’s official Twitter account also found no evidence that the governor has lifted the ban on the operation of motorcycle taxis in the state.

Abisola OlasupoEditorial project assistant

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