Nigeria’s spending on importing motorcycles rose quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) by 22 per cent to N74.6 billion in the first quarter of 2022 from N61.25 billion in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.
The first quarter (Q1) of 2022 figure represented a 37 per cent decline year-on-year (YoY) against the N117.65 billion recorded in Q1of 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which disclosed this in its Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (FTGS) report, stated that in Q1 of 2022, imported manufactured goods were largely ‘safety or relief valves from France and China worth N70.2 billion and N3.30 billion, followed by motorcycles and cycles fitted with auxiliary motor.
The rise in the bill for motorcycle imports has remained steady since last year after a decline in the second quarter of 2021.
Most observers pointed out that since the product was widely used as a means of transportation and an alternative employment option for many youths in the country, the import bill would keep rising.
The development is in spite of the restriction of motorcycles in some states, as a means of transportation, especially Lagos State, as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu banned the operations of commercial motorcycles in Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa councils effective June 1, 2022.
The Lagos State Government, through the state Environmental and Special Offences Unit Task Force, crushed the impounded motorcycles last week.
However, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said no fewer than 5,000 motorcycles were crushed in the first quarter of 2022.
In Rivers State, during Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s administration, the state government banned Okada operators in 2008, following cases of attacks by militants, who were using the motorcycles to unleash mayhem, especially in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
In 2017, the Kano State Road Traffic Agency announced a ban on the use of commercial motorcycles. At the time, Boko Haram attacks were at their peak and the government following which the government had to restrict movement of criminals with the ban.
To usher in the urban renewal policy of his government in Uyo, former Governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio, in 2011, banned the use of okada in 2011, but to encourage the motorcycle riders he promised to pay N50,000 per okada to cushion the effects of the ban.
In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the FCT Administration noted that the Abuja master did not accommodate commercial motorcycles and tricycles and subsequently banned them in 2018.
Also, the Enugu State government announced ban on okada in 2011, maintaining that the decision was in line with its Traffic Act (137) of 2004.
In Kaduna State, former Governor Mukhtar Yero banned commercial motorcycles in 2014 and invoked a legal backing through the Kaduna State Commercial Motorcycles Prohibition Law to curb worsening security situation in the state at that time.