I once wrote about The Okada Man’s Predicament
This was to highlight the insensitivity of some government policies on the less privileged in society.
Could it be that the people who craft some of these laws are out of touch with grassroots realities?
Now, we have another situation, yet in Lagos, but now targeted at taxi drivers (both formal and informal).
Some time ago, Molues were outlawed in Lagos, presumably because of the menace they generally constituted to road users, their rickety nature, their nuisance factor. This was to pave the way for modern, decent, more comfortable Lagos LAGBUS buses.
This new law concerning the operation of taxis in Lagos may not be a deliberate ploy to crowd out the tribal marked old men with their 22 year old Volkswagen Passat, but it will certainly achieve that same effect.
Read about the new guidelines regulating the operation of taxis (painted and unpainted) in Lagos state, henceforth, here.
Recently there was a directive from FRSC about the use of tyres. Currently, you are not supposed to make use of any tyre older that four / five years old from the date of manufacture. This was a reactionary directive due to a series of road accidents traced to bad tyres fitted to some vehicles.
For most people with tokunboh cars, that practically means buying brand new tyres, which would set you back by a minimum of N 60k (N200k for SUV owners). The taxi drivers, who are on the roads daily have no alternative than comply. Where is the N75k financial power for somebody that sometimes needs to borrow money to buy fuel into his taxi, and refund at the end of the day’s work.?
Now, this new edict on taxi driving. ..
An excerpt from the Lagos State government website..
For Any Group To Operate Under A Franchisee, Such Must Have A Minimum Of Fifty Vehicles, Possess The Adequate Insurance Facilities For Vehicles And Passengers Alike And Install Safety Gadgets In All Its Vehicles Which Must Not Be Older Than 12 Years At The Time Of Registration; Those Interested Were Urged To Seek Cost Implications And Other Requirements For Franchising At The Ministry Of Transportation.
Question, what happens to the many numerous taxis that are obviously older than twelve years?
Is the government aware that, next to riding okada for survival, taxi service is the next most common way for the unemployed to be able to earn some living and fend for their families?
While it is clear that this government move is likely partially to reduce the spate of crimes (like kidnappings and robberies) committed using untraceable unregistered taxis, this law needs to be given a more human face.
The registration with a franchise of at least fifty vehicles at the rate of a hundred thousand naira each looks excessive. How is that poor taxi driver supposed to raise the money to buy tyres for N75k – N10k, register with another N100k, fix those security gadgets (speed limiter)?
If the government imagines that the average taxi driver whose vehicle itself can not be worth more than N250k – N400k can afford all that, it means they want to drive that class of taxis drivers off the roads.
And possibly create more crime…
With the enforcement of this elitist law, the only taxis that would remain on Lagos roads are those fancifully painted new taxis that charge by the minute. And the uber…
And of course, the unemployment situation in the country, and possible criminality is bound to get worse.