By Ebele Orakpo

“PEOPLE resident in urban centres in Nigeria, especially Lagos, the Centre of Excellence, have no business with certain disease conditions especially those caused by stress as they see enough everyday to help them de-stress,” said Ngozi as the Ikeja-bound commuter bus wove its way through the peak-period traffic.

Asked Tolu: “Why do you say that.”

“Every single day, they have things that keep them laughing. Have you not noticed the seat belts used by commercial bus drivers?” replied Ngozi.

“Oh please, don’t even go there,” said John laughing. “I call them seat ropes because in actual fact, some who had cut off their seat belts before the FRSC began enforcing the wearing of seat belts, had to improvise. And trust our people, very ingenious, some came up with ropes as an alternative. After all, all of them serve the purpose of tying the user to the seat.”

“Oh my God!” exclaimed Udo. “John how could you say that?”

“This is even a small matter. What about the motorcyclists (Okada riders)?” asked John.

“What about them?” asked Udo.

“When the authorities began enforcing the wearing of crash helmet, you needed to see what these guys resorted to in the name of crash helmet,” said John.

“Are you telling me? They really rose to the occasion. I laughed so hard the day I saw an Okada rider with a plastic paint bucket on his head as helmet,” noted Tolu.

“Ehn, they said they wanted helmet, they got helmet, period!” stated Bukky.

“Is plastic paint bucket a helmet for crying out loud?” asked Ngozi to which Tolu replied: “Well, whether it is helmet or not is not the issue here. The issue is that they needed to shield their heads in case of an accident and they did.”

“You talk as if the law was meant to protect the authorities and not in the interest of the Okada riders and their passengers,” noted Bukky.

“I think they were overwhelmed given the amount of money each motorcyclist was going to spend to procure two crash helmets – one for the rider and one for the passenger. That was why many refused to comply thinking it was business as usual, you know the usual government apathy towards implementing laws. So when the Fashola administration in Lagos State began to arrest offenders who were made to cough out huge sums of money to regain their motorcycles, they became wise and began to improvise,” said Tolu.

“So the authorities were not arresting those with incorrect helmets?” asked Ngozi.

“They did not because come to think of it, a helmet is a protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries. So if the plastic bucket could protect them from injuries, then why prosecute them?” argued Tolu.

“Thank God all that is behind us now. You no longer find such on our roads because some corporate organisations came to help out. They provided branded helmets to these motorcyclists so their companies are getting advertised while the riders got what they wanted. A win-win situation”.


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