Motorcycle taxis did not exist in Lagos before 1994. Lagosians heard about their existence in other states (mainly the northern states) and often laughed at those states because they believed that those states were backward.

Commercial motorcycles suddenly bust onto the scene in the mid-1990s. The authorities knew, even back then, that they were a great hazard. Governor Buba Marwa developed a plan to remove the motorcycles (nicknamed Okada after Okada Air which was believed to be able to go anywhere, even in great danger). Colonel Marwa imported auto rickshaws from India and planned to migrate the okada riders from riding motorcycles to riding rickshaws. He believed that the rickshaws were safer because they had 3 wheels (and therefore more stability) and that the riders would not be able to ride recklessly in the rickshaws. The auto rickshaws were eventually nicknamed after Governor Marwa (Keke Marwa).

The Obasanjo Administration used the auto rickshaws as a tool for poverty alleviation. They imported a lot of the rickshaws, painted them green and white and gave them to poor people on hire purchase basis. The rickshaws were known as Keke Napep, after the National Poverty Alleviation Programme (NAPEP) of the Obasanjo Administration.

There have been several restrictions and attempts to ban both Okadas and Keke Marwa in many states in Nigeria because the governments believe that they are unsafe (there have been many terrible accidents involving motorcycle taxis), the riders are unruly and because they also believe that they are being used by criminals to rob innocent citizens. Most of these bans and restrictions began in the period between 2009-2011. Here is a list of such bans.

1.  Lagos State in 2011.

Lagos To Ban Okada, Fashola’s Committee Endorses Plan

Okada Are Restricted On 475 Out Of 9,100 Roads – Opeifa.

2.  Enugu State in 2012

Enugu Assembly Passes Bill Banning Okada

3. Anambra State (2018)

Okada Ban In Anambra: Operators Groan As 15,000 Lose Jobs In Onitsha, Awka

4. Akwa Ibom State (2011)

Ban On Okada: Akwa ibom Begins Purchase Of Motorcycles From Owners

5. Kano Bans Okada (2013)

6. Seven northern states (2019). Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger.

7. Abia State (2009)

Aba Ingenuity-people’s Creativity Rebuilds Banned Okada In Aba To Tricycles

8. Rivers State ban on Okada (2009)

Okada Ban In Portharcourt

No Okada In Port Harcourt

9. Keke Napep ban in Port Harcourt (2013)

Rivers State Bans Keke Napep In PHC

10. 2016 ban on Okada in 4 LGAs OF Rivers State

Wike Bans Okada In 4 Lgas Of Orashi Region

11. Cross River State (2009)

Cross River State Govt Bans Okada – From Nov. 15th


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