By: Kalu N. Emetu
The Abuja Transportation Master Plan does recognize commercial motorcycles (Okada) and Tricycles (Keke) as a mode of public transportation in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
The Director, FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Services, Dr. Abdul-Lateef Bello stated this while addressing Transportation Officers of the six Area Councils in Abuja.
The Director said though riders and operators of motorcycles and tricycles continue to ply their trade virtually in all the restricted areas, including the city centre, they should be reminded that they are not supposed to be seen in the Federal Capital City, Abuja.
Dr. Bello reiterated that these modes of transportation were never envisaged as means of transportation in the Territory but were allowed in certain areas to provide the last mile service to the people for now.
His words: “We never had the provision for commercial motorcycles or Tricycles in the Abuja Transportation Master Plan as a means of commercial transportation in FCT regulation, it was not envisaged but today they are here, not just here but overwhelming”.
Dr. Bello recalled that in 2006, there was a pronouncement of the ban in the use of motorcycle as a means of commercial transportation in the city and that order has not been lifted.
“However, waiver was given for them to operate in the suburbs, so that they can provide the last mile service in the areas that were quite disconnected in terms of transportation infrastructure but unfortunately, today, the city is overwhelmed by the use of motorcycle. They do not only constitute traffic nuisance but they pose safety concerns and security threats as well”, he lamented.
Motorcycles, the Director said, have been identified as a key facilitator to most criminal activities in most parts of the country, it’s a national concern but today we are talking about the Territory.
He further lamented that in FCT, aside from accidents caused by motorcycles, its heavy use in the city was also an environmental challenge and there was the need to regulate its use, especially in the Federal Capital City.
The Director informed the Area Council Transportation Officers that the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, had given the Directorate a very strong directive to relate with the Area Councils to see how the use of motorcycles as a commercial means of transportation can be effectively regulated.
Dr. Bello noted that the first thing to do was to begin to register most of the commercial motorcycles in all the Area Councils, particularly where they are allowed to operate.
“They have to be registered and be licensed so as to have them in the FCT motor registry central data, for easy identification and tracing, if the need arises,” he said.
The Director said, the idea of having the Area Councils as part of the programme of licensing okada is for it to be disaggregated making it easy to capture from the area where they operate.