New traffic laws lead to protests in Lagos

Commercial motorcyclists, known in Lagos as Okada riders, have been protesting over the state's newly-introduced traffic laws.

The protestors are against the provision in the recent Lagos State Road Traffic Bill that restricts the movement of motorcycles and tricycles on the state's major bridges and main roads. The principal roads they are now banned from using include Ikorodu Road, Funsho Williams Avenue, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway and Lekki-Epe Expressway.

Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola said the laws were designed to decrease congestion and improve safety on the roads, and he blamed commercial motorcyclists for causing a significant amount of road accidents in the state.

The new laws also prohibit the movement of trailers – with the exception of fuel tankers and long passenger trucks – within the metropolis from 18.00-21.00. Drivers caught in violation of the new law face having their vehicles impounded as well as a N50,000 fine or six months in jail.

Drivers who make phone calls, eat or count money while driving risk a fine of N30,000. Bus drivers and conductors must wear identification tags, and property owners must report cases of abandoned vehicles near their homes.

In addition, the government has added 15,000 road signs to the existing 10,000 in the state.