10th June, 2013
The ban on tricycles on some major roads in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, is causing great hardship and residents will protest against it, human rights activists said on Monday at a protest press conference, as the police began arresting violators of the state traffic law passed last year.
The law, passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly and signed by Governor Babatunde Fashola banned motorcycles and tricycles on some major roads in the state but enforcement had mainly focused on motorcycles while officials only began enforcing the tricycles part recently.
“If the government does not soft pedal on this issue of the restriction, we shall start mobilising the mass of the people against this government. We know our tactics and strength as human rights activists and we understand the game now more than politicians,” said Comrade Declan Ihekaire, National Cordinator, Concerned Human Rights Nigeria, who read the press statement not far from a horde of policemen who came to maintain law and order.
In banning motorcycles, Ihekaire said, the government claimed they were prone to accidents and were being used to rob.
“The position was sold out by the government which some citizenry bought into not minding the agony that will emanate. But let them give us one single example where tricycles had been used to rob,” he said in Agege Area of Lagos.
“Lagos State cannot be more of a mega city than India, China and Korea where tricycle is being used as a means of transportation. If tricycle is better than motorcycles and the Lagos State Government still want to ban them then it could be concluded that the current administration in Lagos is anti-masses,” he said.
However, only few tricycles owners were at the protest press conference, leading to suspicion from journalists that they were not being carried along.
“I am fighting for the masses. I am here because people are suffering and an injury to one is an injury to all,” Ihekhaire said after admitting that he did not carry them along.
Concerned Human Rights Nigeria did not also have a time frame for the beginning of protests against the State Government, rather, Ihekaire said, some politicians will be punished during the 2015 elections.
Policemen had arrived the venue of the protest as early as 7am and were still around at the time of going to press.