Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, says the restriction of motorcycles and tricycles in some parts of the state is a timely decision taken for the safety of the people.
Hamzat said in Lagos on Sunday that the state government would have been irresponsible if it had failed to restrict the operators on February 1.
He spoke against the backdrop of views that palliatives should have been put in place before the restriction in 15 Local Government Areas and Local Council Development Areas in the state.
The deputy governor said that it would have been too late if the state government had failed to act when it did.
According to him, every decision taken on the operation of Okada and Keke was in the best interest of all categories of residents, including unborn children.
“The most important thing for us is that people must be alive before they can do anything. When the life is lost, then, there is really nothing else. It’s the dead end. So, for us, what is important is how to secure this society.
“There are details and information that the government sometimes has that you can’t share with citizens because they won’t be able to sleep. So, we take some of these decisions when we see that lives can be threatened and that is it.
‘So, we would be really stupid as a people if we don’t stop that. It is not about inconvenience. It is about our future as a people. So, we have to now decide what is more important for us.
“It is about the lives of our children or is it about the way to get to point B from A. If those people, our children, if their lives are threatened, then there is no reason for us to be here,” Hamzat said.
On why the palliatives were not put in place before the restriction, Hamzat said: “It will be too late. It will be too late if the lives of those children are not secured and we will be very irresponsible.
“That is why they were restricted in certain areas where we saw the upsurge.”
The deputy governor said that most people underestimated their power when they thought all sources of livelihood had been cut off because of the restriction carried out in the interest of all.
Hamzat, who noted that another benefit of the action was to create jobs for residents, said the state government would not import mini buses as being speculated.
He said that instead of creating jobs for other countries through importation of mini buses, the government had insisted on having bus assembly plants in the state to create sustainable jobs.
“So, there is no vacuum in Lagos, No! What you will see is that we must find a way to unleash the power of the private sector to fill these things.
“Of course, we are talking to companies. They wanted to bring those mini buses, but we are saying that why do you want to bring those buses and create jobs for your own people, why can we create plants here?
“So, very soon we will see constructions around Apapa-Oshodi Expressway as well as the assembly plants. That is more important than just to say we will create jobs for another country in India or somewhere else.”
Hamzat said that nobody would build anything sustainable without a process and some hardship, adding that everybody would be happy at the end.
He said that the state government wanted to save lives and have a sustainable way of solving the problem from bottom, adding: “Why can’t we solve our problems by ourselves and do things that will be sustainable as a people.
“It is going to bring hardship but, of course, the reality is that nobody builds anything sustainable without going through a process.
“We can bring in buses and then when they need spare parts, 80 per cent of them will shut down.
“So, let us think through the whole thing and make sure that we bring in solutions that will now also create jobs, that will lead to economic activities for our country.”
Hamzat urged Lagos residents to support the government in its efforts to open up the economy by doing things better.
“It might be painful, but let us do it so that future generations will not go through what we are going through.”