Lagos State State Government has impounded almost three trucks of OPay motorcycles.
The action was carried through the Lagos State Traffic Monitoring and Enforcement team which has just been constituted and given a mandate by Bajide Sawo-olu to sanitise Lagos highways notorious for traffic congestion.
The reasons for the impoundment of the bikes was unclear. However, several reports claim that the ride-hailing firms did not comply with environmental laws of the state and have yet to receive government license to operate.
The ride-hailing startups have not had smooth operations in the state.
On one hand, their bikers are being harassed by the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) for levy even though they reached an agreement of N500 ($1.38) and on the other hand, the Lagos State Government is mulling a 25 million operating license for these startups.
Meanwhile, the regular and largely unsafe motorcycles also known as Okada are largely operating unhindered.
This harassment is what probably prompted OPay to suspend OBus, its bus-hailing services in the state.
The challenges being faced by the ride-hailing firms may be one of the reasons SafeBoda decided to launch in Ibadan rather than Lagos.
With the ‘powerful’ transport unions and the LASG grabbing the ride-hailing firms by the jugular, it won’t be surprising if they begin to pull out of the state.
This will in no small measure defeat the plans of the state and government to market itself as an attractive and popular destination for business in Nigeria and Africa.