There are millions of informal motorcycle, tricycle, and bus operators in Nigeria. Many of them are unlicensed, have no identity data and are often used as agents for anonymous crimes. In addition, the majority of these operators are untrained and have a penchant for disregarding traffic rules thereby exposing themselves, their customers, and other road users to preventable accidents.
These pose serious security and safety concerns to the general public. Organising and regulating the industry is critical as transport operators provide essential transportation services to millions of Nigerians. The solution therefore is to address these critical safety and security concerns, while providing decent working conditions for these essential transport operators.
The Ekiti State Government is desirous of tackling this security and safety challenge and has entered into a partnership with Metro Africa Xpress (MAX.ng), a leading mobility platform focused on Nigeria and West Africa. Ekiti State is working with MAX.ng to transform informal motorcycle and tricycle transportation (also called “Okada and Keke”) in the State.
The State has partnered with MAX.ng to deploy MetroGov, a secure urban mobility platform that uses next-generation technology to provide identity management, remote monitoring, crime prevention, digital payments, and financial audit solutions.
Ekiti State is taking the lead in securing and digitizing transportation. The State has an estimated population of 3 million people and over 100,000 motorcycle and tricycle operators across the state.
As part of the recently launched Ekiti State Mobility Transformation Project (ESMOT), the state aims to formalise the transportation industry while delivering safety, security, insurance, vehicle financing and other essential support services to transport operators. By deploying MetroGov, the government seeks to accelerate its transformation plan for the transport industry.
The MetroGov platform provides digital identities for drivers and a platform for vehicle registration and tracking. Motorcycle operators would also be trained and licensed. Operators registered on the platform would eventually gain access to affordable health insurance, life insurance, and vehicle financing.
It would also enable increased transparency by providing data for more effective revenue collection to drive infrastructure development in the State. The MetroGov platform would provide the Government greater visibility into urban mobility and would aid the implementation of more effective safety and security standards.
The data captured would assist the Government in the development of effective responses, interventions and policies to optimize the Ekiti State transport industry. The goal is to ensure that all riders, drivers and vehicles are registered on the platform, licensed, and properly trained.
“We have engaged with relevant authorities and interest groups. They have expressed their commitment to the new system as they agree this would guarantee the safety of our citizens, and would deliver improved services to both transport operators and commuters.”
Speaking at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti, Special Adviser to the Governor on Investment, Trade and Innovation, Mr Akintunde Oyebode, indicated that the initiative was developed to address the issues of safety, security and operator identification in the State.
He added that ESMOT would ensure the proper registration and licensing of all transport operators. Through the digitization of the sector and the introduction of systems that ensure transparency, this initiative would deliver greatly improved transportation services to the residents of Ekiti State.
As part of the initiative, the Ekiti State Government will require all motorcycle and tricycle operators within the state to undergo onboarding within the stipulated and approved time-frame.
Speaking on the partnership, Adetayo Bamiduro, CEO of MAX.ng, said this initiative is at the core of MAX.ng’s mission to build technology infrastructure to make mobility safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable for all Nigerians.
Bamiduro said: “Our goal in developing the MetroGov platform is to volunteer and offer our expertise to Regulators, Governments, Public Sector partners, Transport Associations, and non-profit organizations in delivering safer transportation services to citizens.
“MAX.ng has built strong capabilities in secure mobility infrastructure, transport operations, vehicle financing, ride-hailing and electric mobility for the benefit of riders, drivers, enterprises, commuters, and Governments. We are extremely excited and honoured by the opportunity to support the Ekiti State Government in its effort to provide safer and more resilient transportation services to its people.”
MAX.ng and the Ekiti State government will work together to introduce various safety initiatives to transform the industry, such as traffic laws, speed limits, helmet usage, and protective equipment to commuters. They will also offer training programs to drivers.
The deployment of MetroGov is another win for Ekiti State which is quickly demonstrating an important resolve towards enabling economic and digital innovation.
Recently, the state government took the lead in crashing Right of Way tax to N145 from N4,500 per meter for telecom companies laying fibre optics cables, thereby boosting broadband penetration in the state. At least four other states have since joined Ekiti in crashing their Right of Way tax.