Informal sector experts and tax administration officials from African countries are gathered in Abuja for a three-day conference to discuss how to address challenges arising from the informal sector in Africa. This was disclosed in a statement by the Forum.
According to the statement, the conference is being jointly hosted by the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), with the support of the African Development Bank. It forms part of a meeting of tax officials from ATAF’s 38 member countries to discuss the organisation’s 2020 work plan, which comprises a comprehensive calendar of activities aimed at building capacity and boosting skills in African tax administrations, supporting them through research and provision of technical assistance and expert advice.
The focus of this year’s conference is the informal economy which, according to a 2018 report of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), accounts for 85.8 per cent of employment in Africa.
According to the ILO report, two billion people – more than 61 per cent of the world’s employed population – make their living in the informal economy and that 93 per cent of the world’s informal employment is in emerging and developing countries.
The ILO report also stated that majority of informal sector workers lack social protection and labour rights, while informal sector businesses are constrained from advancing economically because they cannot access affordable financial products. This, added the report, has a negative impact on GDP, socio-economic development and tax collection.
“Because they operate outside the formal economic system it is difficult if not impossible to bring the informal sector into the tax net.
“The informal sector conference is the first of several similar events to be held in other regions of Africa planned by ATAF as part of its year-long research project on the informal sector. The aim to create discuss and develop a common understanding of what an African model for the efficient taxing of the informal sector entails with a view to producing guidelines and a framework that can be implemented by African tax administrations.
“The research project includes carrying out case studies in at least six African countries where ATAF can benchmark sound practices that can be incorporated into the African framework for an efficient and effective taxation of the informal sector. “The conference will also select experts to serve on a technical review committee on this project,” the statement said.
The conference will be the first official engagement of the the new FIRS Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami, who has taken over as the Chair of the ATAF Council, which Nigeria currently holds.
From February 4th to 16th, 2020, Lagos will play host to some of the most prestigious teams for Africa’s premier polo competition – the 2020 Lagos International Polo Tournament.
Sponsored by leading African Financial Institution, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, the competition will feature 39 teams; the highest number till date. The teams will compete in four major cups; the Silver Cup, Open Cup, Low Cup, and Majekodunmi Cup. The finals of the Silver Cup and Open Cup will hold on Sunday 9th February 2020, while the finals of the Low Cup and Majekodunmi Cup hold on Sunday 16th February 2020.
This year, the Lagos International Polo Tournament, themed “Lagos Develops Polo”, aims to encourage the participation of young and indigenous talented players while featuring top class action from some of the most experienced and acclaimed polo players in and out of the country, including South Africa’s Chris Mackenzie +7, Argentina’s Andres Crespo +5, Raul Laplacette +7 and Santiago de Estrada +6, as well as Nigeria’s Neku Atawodi-Edun +5, the first black female polo player and the highest-handicapped female player at the tournament.
Over the years, GTBank has been at the forefront of supporting Polo; widely revered as the Sport of Kings, and promoting the Lagos International Polo Tournament, which has hosted reputable personalities such as His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Played on the grounds of the Lagos Polo Club, Ikoyi, the premier polo club in the country, the tournament has featured polo greats like Alphonso Pieres, Gonzalo Pieres and Alan Kent.
Commenting on GTBank’s sponsorship of the 2020 Lagos International Polo Tournament, Segun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said; “We love the game of polo, not only because it is one of the most anticipated events in the social calendar of the country, but also because its values such as discipline, rigour and fair play strongly resonates with our brand.
He further stated that; “Our sponsorship of the 2020 NPA Lagos International Polo Tournament also reflects our strong belief in the role of sports as a major vehicle of social development and our commitment to championing activities and events that bring people together.”
Guaranty Trust Bank is a leading advocate of Sports Education as a major way of promoting the values of excellence and fair play whilst laying a solid foundation for the emergence of sporting talent. The Bank maintains a defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy focused on championing causes and fostering initiatives that transform lives and uplift communities.
Alongside the GTBank Lagos International Polo Tournament, the Bank organizes and sponsors several other sports competitions, one of which is the GTBank Masters Cup; a football competition amongst secondary schools in Lagos State.
Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has gone ahead to implement the restrictions or as some people call it, ban of the movement of commercial motorcycles (okada) and tricycles (Keke Marwa) is no news.
The decision was met with criticism and condemnation of the government by several residents of the state owing to what they perceive as the inconveniences the policy or the decision would cause.
But beyond the inconveniences and disadvantages of the policy, it is necessary to trace the genesis of the restrictions and what it portends to the residents of the metropolitan city on the long run.
It should be recalled that the restriction/ban of Okada operations as recently announced by the Lagos State Government is not a new policy.
The Policy predates the current government as it took off in 2012 during the tenure of former governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.
What the Sanwo-Olu Government did was just to effect the policy, which was neglected by the government of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode from 2015 to May, 2019.
Going down memory lane, in March 2012, about eight (8) years ago, Governor Fashola announced a total ban of Okada from all major bridges and the whole of Ikeja.
This ban was instigated by the Nigeria Police, who had been hapless from the incessant rise in crime in the highly populated state.
Three months later, it was extended to parts of Surulere and Lagos Island. Specifically the Business district, parts of Victoria Island and Falomo, Ikoyi.
For the other areas, government decided to regulate Okada riders and came up with a licensing scheme which stipulated that Okada riders needed to learn how to ride bikes and must obtain a riders licence (As is applicable in most countries).
This they did in partnership with the FRSC. This scheme was ignored totally.
As a matter of fact the two main Okada unions took the government to court over this.
The FRSC ended confiscating over 15,000 bikes for non-compliance. Still, riders were going about undocumented.
At that time, there were just about 50,000 Okada’s in Lagos. The government also introduced the use of crash helmets due to incessant casualties from accidents. This too was largely ignored.
Today, there are over 250,000 Okadas with 78% of the riders being indigenes of Chad, Niger and Mali.
The significant rise was within the last 18 months. The most significant development that jolted the Lagos State Government was the recent influx of over 40,000 Nigeriens and Malians under the guise of looking for a means of sustenance as Okada riders.
They were all undocumented, with no form of identification whatsoever.
The Lagos State Government quickly set up a committee to look into this.
Early January, in trying to enforce registration in Apapa, Iganmu Orile, where we have the largest concentration of Okada riders from Niger and Mali, government ended up seizing about 150 Okadas, whose owners did not have riders permit.
Within a few hours, irate Hausa/Fulani youths invaded Apapa- Iganmu LCDA headquarters at Marine Beach, chased all the workers away and set the office complex ablaze and also vandalised vehicles within the vicinity causing millions of Naira in damage. No serious government would watch and not take action, most especially with the insurgency in the North East.
What we should note here is that there is a total ban on Okada in Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger State for security reasons.
Those, who did not study the situation properly have been condemning the government of Mr. Sanwo-Olu for its action.
However, they ought to know that Sanwo-olu’s government didn’t just wake up and effect the ban! It was as a result of a report presented by the Lagos State Security Council and they sought advise from the OPS as well.
The Corporate Okada companies were given ample time to implement government policy on the management of their riders but they simply just took the government for granted.
They felt that this is Nigeria, where people believe that anything goes.
In their own thinking government would not be that audacious with an outright ban.
With the millions of dollars raised at start-up, all the corporate Okada companies were interested in, was the revenue. They were interested in the N3,000 daily they were charging riders.
The companies became reckless after the Lagos State introduced N25M as annual licensing fees for 1000 riders and then N30,000 per bike thereafter.
This means that the companies would paying N295M if they had 10,000 Okada riders including tax and VAT on revenue generated.
Meanwhile the companies were earning over N1m per rider annually. They became very greedy and complacent and ceased to keep any verifiable database of the their riders with the required background checks. (This was largely done, to avoid charges).
The main concern of the owner of Gokada’ Bangladeshi was how to roll out Gokada in the thousands rather than making sure there was value added and compliance.
So most of this companies have themselves to blame. The Corporate Okadas market share in Lagos is less than 5%. TBC.
What the Lagos State Government is to sanitize the system and restore the lost glory of the state and make things work better in the centre of excellence.
The Sanwo-Olu Government means well for the residents of the state and this would be noticeable in its progressive programmes for the generality of the masses.
Residents of the state should commend the sensitivity of the Sanwo-Olu government to provide succour with the release of 65 buses and ordering additional 550 buses to ameliorate the challenge facing commuters.
The Governor knows the implications of the restrictions of the movement of okada and Keke Marwa and he is thinking outside the box on a daily basis to provide succour.
The major reason for the restrictions/ban should not be lost on the discerning residents of the state, it is meant to reduce crime and protect lives and properties as hoodlums have reportedly perfected the use of okada to commit crime with impunity.
Salah’s brace takes Liverpool closer; Boga the boogeyman for Roma
SuperSport viewers on DStv and GOtv enjoyed another great weekend of football action, with the continuation of the 2019/20 Premier League, La Liga and Serie A campaigns.
Once again African stars were at the heart of some of the key narratives in these major European leagues. The prime example was Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah, who netted two goals in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Southampton on Saturday to move a step closer to the Premier League title.
The Pharaohs forward scored in the 71st and 90th minute, wrapping up the scoring after earlier goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson had put the Reds on the path to an amazing 24th win from 25 matches.
And following a defeat for Manchester City away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Liverpool now need only six further wins from the 13 remaining rounds to secure the Premier League title – something that would only add to the incredible legacy that Salah has established at Anfield already.
Elsewhere in England’s top flight, Mbwana Samatta notably became the first Tanzanian to score in the Premier League, though it proved only a consolation in Aston Villa’s 2-1 loss at Bournemouth which leaves them placed precariously above the relegation zone.
In Italy’s Serie A the headline shock result was Sassuolo’s impressive 4-2 victory over Roma which featured a key goal from Ivorian forward Jeremie Boga. The 23-year-old West African has now scored six times in the league for his club and prove a key figure as they push toward mid-table safety.
The weekend’s Serie A action also featured a goal for Nigerian-born Bobby Adekanye in Lazio’s 5-1 win over SPAL, while Moroccan Sofyan Amrabat was red-carded for Hellas Verona in their creditable 1-1 draw away to a Milan team featuring Franck Kessie in midfield.
The top African performance in La Liga came from Nigeria’s Kenneth Omeruo, who scored his first goal of the season in a 2-1 home win for Leganes over Real Sociedad. The Madrid side remain in the relegation zone but have significantly boosted their survival hopes.
Elsewhere in Spain, Djene Dakonam and Allan Nyom once again proved reliable performers for Getafe as they defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-1 at San Mames Barria to consolidate their status in the UEFA Champions League places.
Don’t miss the 2019/2020 football season on DStv and GOtv. Visit www.dstv.comand www.gotvafrica.com to subscribe or upgrade, and join in on the excitement. And while you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now.
Wilder versus Fury II has been highly anticipated since their first meeting, when Wilder retained his WBC title via split draw after Fury sensationally rose from a 12th-round knockdown to finish the fight. It is one of the most memorable moments in heavyweight history and has raised the stakes heading into the rematch.
Wilder and Fury kicked off their media tour with an event in Los Angeles and, as expected, pulled no punches. “Deontay Wilder hasn’t been returning my calls or messages since last time,” Fury said. “He’s trying to keep his distance. He didn’t want to be around me so I can get in his head. “He’s going to try to (end it with) the right hand. If I’m stupid enough to get hit with it, I deserve to lose. I hit the floor twice in the first fight, but it’s all about how you respond. I’m a fighting man. If he can’t finish me, I’m going to eat him up.”
Wilder was more emphatic in his prediction: “I knocked him out the first time we fought,” he said, referencing the dramatic knockdown that seemed to have finished Fury before he beat the count. “I told him two years ago I was going to baptize him. Rising up is part of the baptism. This is unfinished business. Because he’s in WWE, I’m going to make sure he gets knocked out of the ring, I might even come down with a flying elbow from the top rope. “I’m going to do exactly what I said I would do. I’m going to knock him out. I’m the lion. I’m the king of the jungle. It was a very controversial fight. I promise my fans that there won’t be any controversy with this one. I’m going to finish it.”
Although both fighters are skilled in smack talk, it was still a surprise when Fury declared he can knock Wilder out within the first six minutes, something he’s hoping to produce under the tutelage of new trainer Sugar Hill Steward.
Aside from the fighters’ charismatic personalities and their penchants for wild public statements, this matchup is fascinating because it pits Fury’s boxing skills against Wilder’s ferocious punching power. Fury would have claimed a decision on the scorecards if he hadn’t been knocked down twice yet insists he must win by knockout to get a decision in the US.
For more information on the sports offering on DStv and the boxing action, visit www.supersport.com. To make sure you don’t miss out Subscribe or upgrade on DStv.com and manage your account on the MyDStv App. And, if you’ll be on the go, watch your sports on the DStv Now App.
The National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Lagos State Chapter, on Monday cautioned commercial bus drivers against hike in fares over the ban and restriction of motorcycles and tricycles’ operations in the state.
The state Chairman of the NURTW, Alhaji Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, gave the caution in a statement in Lagos.
Akinsanya said that the warning became imperative following complaints from members of the public, alleging commercial drivers of taking advantage of the ban to inflict more pains on the commuters.
The NURTW boss said that no commercial driver should inflate the fares so as not to multiply the pains of commuters in the state.
He warned that anyone caught in the act would be dealt with in line with the rules and regulations of the union.
Akinsanya directed that all the branch chairmen of the union should monitor the fares and ensure that the commercial bus drivers did not worsen the plight of the people.
According to him, members of the union should not extort people as a result of the ban of motorcycle and tricycle operations in some parts of the metropolis.
He said that the leadership of the union had been making moves to resolve the issue of the motorcycles and tricycles’ ban with the Lagos State Government.
“The union is also working assiduously with investors to inject more buses and increase the number of commercial vehicles in the metropolis to ease the hardship faced as a result of the ban.
“We advise both the commercial drivers and Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN) and Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos (MOALS) to be patient and cooperate with Lagos State Traffic Management Authority officials, obey traffic law.
“It’s an offence to drive on BRT lanes or drive against traffic. Obey the traffic laws and regulations, comport yourself orderly,” the NURTW chairman said.
The state government on Feb. 1, commenced enforcement of the extant Transport Sector Reform Law 2018 banning operations of motorcycles and tricycles in some LGAs and LCDAs and restricted them from some highways, bridges and roads.
Adetayo Bamiduro, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of MAX (Metro Africa Xpress), a motorcycle ride-hailing service, talks to SIMON UTEBOR about the impact the ban of activities of okada and keke in some local councils in Lagos will have on the company
Q: Though the restriction of activities of keke (commercial tricycle) riders, okada riders (commercial motorcyclists), and motorcycle ride-hailing services like MAX and Gokada, will first start from 15 local councils in Lagos, how much effect do you think it will have on your business?
Regarding the ban recently announced in relation to commercial motorcycles and tricycle operators, no distinction was made between the formal operators like us and the informal operators who do not typically wear helmets or pay attention to regulations. Therefore, pronouncing a blanket ban that affects everybody, including those who are working very hard to contribute towards the greater Lagos vision will definitely impact on us and threaten our survival as a business. It has been quite a traumatic period for us and we are hopeful that the government would reconsider its position on this.
Q: But you can still operate in many other local councils, at least till the pilot scheme is extended to other areas, as the state government said?
It is not just about us (the formal operators) – it is also about the commuters as well. The areas where the total ban has been enforced, the users and commuters in those areas relying on this service to move around are going to be severely affected. The areas where the ban has been promulgated are the most important areas for this business in Lagos because those areas constitute the commercial nerve centres of the state.
So, if a driver is completely restricted from operating there, in that case, we estimate that the incomes of the drivers will reduce. At least, they will lose close to 80 per cent of their income due to this restriction. It, therefore, means that this is quite a serious ban.
Q: It also means that the company will also lose heavily…
Absolutely, our company exists because of our drivers, so whatever impacts our drivers – no matter how small, impacts us.
Q: The Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018, Sec 15(1) says motorcycles with 200cc engine and above are exempted from the restriction. Do you think that means you have the right to ply the highways and bridges as the law hasn’t been changed or repealed?
By the letters of the law, it exempts us because our motorcycles are above the 200cc engine required by the government. However, the government has control over critical state resources, including law enforcement. There is the law itself, the letters of the law and there is also the implementation and the intention of an announcement.
A press statement was released by the government and that person who released it cannot just be dismissed because it was made by the government. For us, even though by the letters of the law we clearly should be exempted, but the announcement that has been made brings us a lot of discomfort.
Q: Do you think it was unfair to have included you and other motorcycle ride-hailing services in the ban?
As MAX, I will say unfairness is not the best word to use. I will say it is not the most effective way to do it. We know that the government also wants the success of the people of Lagos – it wants to make the best decision given the information available and all we have asked for is to have the opportunity to provide additional perspectives to the government and also an alternative that we strongly believe is in the best interest of the government. It is not so much about being unfair, it is more about: is this the best way to solve the problem that the government has correctly identified? We believe there is a better way to do this.
Q: Before you and other motorbike ride-hailing companies came on board and invested heavily, what kind of commitments did you get from the state government?
We have had a few conversations with the officials of the government – both the past administration and the current administration – and they have seemed very impressed with what we have done and some of the results we have demonstrated.
First of all, we restored the culture of safety helmet in Lagos that was long gone in the last 20 years. That alone was quite impressive. Not only that one, we upgraded the quality of the vehicles to comply with the laws and regulations. Also, we have invested in technology as well, which ensures the safety of commuters and Lagosians. So, Lagosians have grown to absolutely love the service. All we are saying is that the problem that we are solving is a real problem that Lagosians feel. Why we understand the concerns that the government has raised, most of the concerns are legitimate concerns. The way to go about it in our own opinion and with all things considered is to properly regulate the industry rather than enforce an outright ban.
Q: It was reported that services like yours have had to pay N25m to government for every 1,000 bikes brought in. How true is this and was there any mention that the restriction might come in the future?
In the engagements we have had with the government, we have had a lot of progressive conversation around regulation, around licencing, and around security and safety, etc. The conversations were quite clear that the government wanted to reform the industry. The reforms were targeted at ensuring that every single okada rider would comply with government regulations in terms of engine capacity, safety helmet, being branded and all of that.
In fact, during one of the conversations we had with a senior civil servant, he mentioned to us that we should make more investments to be able to meet the needs of commuters and Lagosians. It was based on that and other engagements that we decided to double our investments to be able to satisfy Lagosians and importantly, to help government to achieve its vision of modern motorcycle hailing services. It came as a shock to us that those conversations have been temporarily abandoned and a decision was made that completely disregarded any conversations that we had in the past.
Q: You did not reflect the issue of N25m licencing fee for okada hailing services…
At some point in the middle of last year, a senior civil servant did talk about licencing and also threw out a figure. What is not clear to us is whether that figure had gone through the necessary approvals which we don’t think it had, to be honest. But yes, someone in government did mention N25m as a suggestion but that was never formally communicated to us, at least not any of the ride-hailing operators that we know of. So, N25m was mentioned but it wasn’t concluded at that time.
Q: That means that you have not been paying to the government for bringing in motorcycles for your business…
Let me clarify. We did not pay any money to the government in terms of licencing as a company for motorcycle hailing because licencing regime has not been implemented yet. But we pay taxes to government as a legal entity; even our drivers do. And every driver on our platform pays over N30, 000 annually for registration and licences. Beyond that, we also pay taxes to Lagos State Inland Revenue Services and also Federal Inland Revenue Service. We also pay taxes to the unions. In fact, government played a very significant role in brokering a conversation between us – formal operators, National Union of Road Transport Workers and okada unions. So, our drivers also pay okada unions N500 per day in order to operate. There are taxes here and there that we pay but in terms of specific licencing fee, that has not been agreed yet.
Q: With the restriction, are you considering going to other states, especially as the government said this is just a pilot scheme and that it could be extended to other councils?
Right now at MAX, we are currently operational in four states in Nigeria. We are in Kano State and we are growing very quickly in that state; we are creating about 300 jobs every single month in Kano. We are operational in Ondo State, Ogun State and in Ibadan, Oyo State. We are not just a Lagos State-based company; we are a Nigeria-focused company. We are actually a West Africa-focused company. Our mission is to solve the problem of transportation in Nigeria and across West Africa.
Q: How much have you invested in the state?
In terms of equity investment and shareholders, MAX has put in close to $10m (about N3.6bn) in the state. And in terms of financing, things that have been done cost well over $5m (about 1.8bn) in the business that has been mobilised for providing micro loans to okada and vehicle operators in the state. We have very big plans for Nigerians as a whole and we have very big plans for Lagos as well.
Q: You recently purchased electric motorcycles, what plans do you have for them and other bikes with the restriction?
This is a case of a responsible company that cares about the environment and we have good innovations – the first to actually introduce electric motorcycles into commercial usage in Nigeria. If this ban goes ahead and government does not relent, then we will be forced to deploy those electric motorcycles to other parts of the cities and probably other parts of Nigeria as well. It will be our joy to see Lagosians enjoy electric mobility and we are hopeful the government will reconsider its decision so that we can continue to innovate in the state.
Q: One of the reasons given by the government for taking the action was increasing rate of accidents. They said Lagos State University Teaching Hospital recorded 1,200 accident cases in 2019 with 500 being motorcycle-related. Do you agree that okada riders ride recklessly in Lagos?
As for the statistics that were quoted by the government spokesperson, a lot of them are factual and of course, they have genuine cause for concerns. As a responsible corporate citizen and as a resident in Lagos, those statistics that were quoted are the same statistics that made us to start this business – which is that people need to move around and to move around in a way that is safe.
To give you some facts to back up the impact we have had in Lagos, in two and a half years of operating the hailing service, we have completed close to two million rides (two million trips) and out of the two million trips, we have had roughly around 100 incidents, and out of that 100, only seven of them were serious and none of them resulted in fatality.
So, if you look at our numbers, you can see that using a MAXokada is safer than entering a commercial bus in Lagos based on the statistics. We are more than capable to address the concerns that the government has genuinely raised.
Q: It is believed that many of the reckless traditional okada riders were some of those absolved by MAX, Gokada, Opay and others. Where is the difference?
I can speak for our company, MAX, with reasonable level of assurance and Gokada as well. You will never find an untrained rider on our platform. Every rider on our platform goes through detailed security screening and customer screening. In fact, we require them to produce police reports that they have not been involved in criminal activities before they can join us.
In addition to that, we get the details of two guarantors for every rider. We take down their BVN as well and within our company, we have ex-security operatives that work with us and we make sure that every rider on our platform has proper background checks. Since we became operational, there has been no criminal report about any of our drivers, not one.
Q: How many of your workers and riders is the restriction likely going to affect in terms of job losses?
The ban has the potential to affect up to 2,000 riders on our platform. If you look at us and Gokada for example, that number could easily go to anywhere between 4,000 and 5,000 and that is the immediate job loss. But when you look at other indirect jobs that can be lost as a result of this, that figure could skyrocket to as high as 20,000, so the impact is not trivial and that can be quite severe.
Q: How many jobs have you created with your MAXokada initiative?
In total, we have created well over 2,000 jobs and we have through our work, activities and investment, supported well over 72,000 indirect jobs.
Q: What motivated you to go into the business?
First and foremost, it is absolutely because of our undying love and passion for our country and for its people. Last year, Nigeria was announced as the country with the largest number of poor people in the world. Those are very shameful statistics. I felt a deep personal sense of shame when the announcement was made. Whenever I travel, meet with people or go to conferences or events, one question we keep getting is ‘what is the problem with Nigeria? Why is the country experiencing so many challenges and so much poverty?’ So for us, it is a question of genuine concern.
In fact, my co-founder and I moved back from the United States to Nigeria to start this company. And the question we sometimes get is among all the things you could have done, why okada?
We came here to create a social infrastructure that would impact as many people as possible and we found out that okada is something that could easily raise the standard of living of the people without them having to learn too many things. What we also saw from our experience internationally is that a job that you do does not have to be the job you do forever. People typically need a job to at least get to the next level. So, in the US, you can work as a delivery driver on a bicycle or even on a motorcycle and that also happens in the UK and other places. What we have done is to create a socio-economic ladder which people at the very bottom can use as their first step towards progress in life and that is one of the reasons why we started this social enterprise.
Q: How many commercial motorcycles do you have in you have in your fleet?
We have well over 2,000 motorcycles in our fleet.
Q: What do you think the government should have done instead of banning okada on the affected roads?
We don’t assume to have monopoly of knowledge – nobody does. We also recognise that the work of governance is very difficult – limited resources, limited time and unlimited needs. There are cries from all sectors of the society pulling at the government over their different needs. So, we understand the predicament that the government faces but we are here to support. All we are asking from the government is to open their hands to help them help us, and help them help the people.
Q/ Would you describe the ban as a reactionary approach?
I will say the ban was implemented from a position of attempting to solve problems. Where we think the government has the opportunity to do better to regulate instead of banning, that is the area where we are available and willing to support the government. The ban has come across to a lot of us as reactionary and we still feel that this decision can be improved. We are hopeful that the government will reconsider its decision, bring in stakeholders that can help provide a lasting solution to this problem and we hope that our phones would ring very soon.
Q: Should the government refuse to listen to your appeals, what is the next step?
If they refuse to listen to our appeals or request, we are already delivering impact in many areas and also many other regions, so I guess to the extent that government is willing to cooperate with us, we will absolutely support the government and the good people of Lagos State and we can’t do beyond what the government asks to do. We are hopeful that they will consider that and allow us to contribute towards the greate Lagos. However, of course, we are not limited in our operations only to Lagos – we operate across several states in Nigeria and we will continue to invest in other states across Nigeria. (Punch)
Ogun State Government on Monday said it would absorb all the shock that its proximity to Lagos brings with the influx of commercial motorcycle (Okada) operators to Ogun border towns with Lagos.
Speaking to reporters in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, the Transport Committee Chairman, Barr. Femi Adeniyi, admitted many of the operators have started pouring into Akute, Alagbole, Ajunwon, Sagamu, Ijebu – Ode, Ifo, Ibafo and Mowe areas of the state following the ban on their operations in some designated areas of Lagos State.
Adeniyi said such migration from Lagos to Ogun has its advantages as the new settlers would also join hands with others to drive the socioeconomic development of the Gateway State to a higher level.
He stressed that should the “agents of darkness” among the genuine Okada operators dare try to practice what caused their eviction from Lagos, similar fate would befall such person or individuals.
Also Governor Dapo Abiodun speaking to BBC reporter from London noted that “as people begin to migrate from Lagos to Ogun, to either live, work or play, the state is ready to give them quality education, quality health care, transportation, clean water and clean power.”
The Governor disclosed this in an interview on a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Radio programme, Focus on Africa.
Abiodun lauded the decision of the United Kingdom Government to identify the state as one of the beneficiaries of an $80million Fund under the aegis of its Global Future Cities Prosperity Fund Programme.
The Governor said the inclusion of Ogun State in the scheme “is a testimony to the fact that the state is not just a Gateway state to Nigeria but the fact that the leadership of the State is poised to brace up to the challenges and turn all the push factors of the continent’s fifth largest economy to pull factors that can stand the test of millennial development”.
The Global Future Cities Prosperity Fund Programme recently identified Ogun State as one of the nineteen cities in ten countries that would benefit from the prosperity fund set up by the UK government.
The governor stated the present administration would give the state a facelift that would attract the kind of investment capable of turning the state into a city that would could withstand modern development in terms of architecture and infrastructure.
Abiodun, who visited Kings Cross Station in London, said he was guided by the fact that 10 years made a difference. (The Nation)
Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiative, a non-profit organisation, has dragged the Corporate Affairs Commission before the Court of Appeal over the refusal to register it.
Pamela Adie, an LGBT activist, had in 2018 sued the commission for refusing to register the organisation but lost the case.
However, the activist disclosed on Twitter that she had filed a notice of appeal on the judgement delivered by the Federal High Court.
“Notice of appeal has been filed in the case of Pamela Adie V CAC. As some of you may be aware, I applied to register a non-profit called Lesbian Equality and Empowerment Initiative but was denied by the Nigerian government agency, CAC, because it said ‘lesbian’ was offensive.
“I felt this was an infringement of my constitutional right to freedom of association.My team and I filed a suit against CAC in 2018 at the Federal High Court, Abuja,” Pamela Adie tweeted.