Okada are Lagos motorcyclists who earn cash by zipping customers through traffic, often with little regard for safety. The regional government recently banned okada from all major roadways, in part because the bikes are often used by robbers to flee from crime scenes. The prohibition hasn’t gone over well, however, for okada are more than just automotive hustlers—they’re also part of a distinct subculture that centers around a shared love of speed. And they are lashing out at the policemen enforcing the ban, who have no qualms about using violence at will.
If I were a betting man, I would ultimately place my money on the okada. They provide too valuable of a service to the general public—a last resort for people who are late for important appointments, and have no choice but to risk their lives to reach their destinations in time. Until Lagos is cured of its endemic traffic problems, there will always be plenty of demand for the okada. And it is ultimately demand that settles disputes like this, not policies issued from on high.