By Nnamdi Odumody
The Lagos State Task Force has arrested 23 operators and 10 motorcycles of bike hailing startups Gokada and Maxokada for plying restricted routes in the state. It stated that commercial motorcycle operators who fail to comply with the Lagos State Road Traffic Laws of 2012 would be dealt with.
Out of the 115 motorcycles which were impounded during enforcement operations for operating on restricted routes, 22 were branded Gokada and Maxokada. The Task Force Chairman CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi stated that their operations were illegal as they operate without valid documents from the state government, stating that in accordance with the law, no commercial motorcycle operator is allowed to operate on 475 restricted routes, including highways and bridges across the state. Also members of the public were warned to desist from patronizing commercial motorcyclists on restricted routes as they would be liable also to prosecution.
It is important to note that before you start your startup to disrupt or solve any frictions which are existent in any industry, you must go through the regulatory guidelines for operators to know where there are bounds. This is key in a country like Nigeria where multiple agencies both from the Federal Government and State Government levels make life difficult for businesses especially SMEs to survive.
Uber has come under serious criticism in different markets of the world where it operates as the governments of those countries have actually tried to put in place control mechanisms to protect the interests of taxi operators. Why Google and Facebook don’t operate in China unlike other markets is simply because the Chinese government controls access to information even on the internet for its citizens to prevent locals from getting influenced by foreign media which could trigger off an uprising against its Communist regime. This principle deviates from the ideals of the American technology giants. Largely, the filtering that is required to keep operations comply with Chinese laws may not be acceptable to some foreign digital entities.
It is very important you know what the law says regarding operations in that market before you venture to prevent a later embarrassment which could lead to shut down of the business.