Taxi operators in Lagos State, western Nigeria must now ensure cars used by them for the business have working air conditioners for the comfort of their passengers.
This is one of the stipulations in the State Road Traffic Law Regulation For Taxi Operations passed by the state House of Assembly at its valedictory session late Monday.
Though some of the lawmakers kicked against some of the stipulations, saying it could send some people out of business, the majority of the lawmakers backed the regulation.
Those who argued against some of the stipulations urged that the regulations should be tried one after the other so as to give the operators time to adjust. They also argued that the regulations could be an opportunity for law enforcement agents to extort money from the operators.
But those in favour of passing the regulations said it would just be right to commence implementation and then carry out a review and possible adjustments later.
As approved by the House, every cab operating in the state must now be duly registered. In this case, they must obtain operational licenses from the state Ministry of Transportation.
The regulation further grants the ministry the right to arrest unlicensed cab operators as the lawmakers argued that licensing the operators would help stem insecurity in the state.
Arguing in favour of the regulation just before it was granted approval, one of the lawmakers, Rotimi Olowo, said cab operations could be made to work like it is working in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
He recalled how he travelled to Dubai sometime ago only to discover that the official cars used by members of the House was the same types used as taxis in the country.
“There must be a standard and we must start from somewhere,” he said, listing some of the requirements for cabs to work in the state to include air conditioning convenience and tracking devices.
Sanai Agunbiade, the chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary and Public Petitions, said the regulations could be tried and reviewed so that the House would later carry out an impact assessment on their implementation.
On her part, Adefunmi Tejuosho argued that implementing the regulation was important for security and safety.
Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who approved the regulations after a voice vote by members, said the state cannot afford operations below standard since it is aiming at being a model for the African continent.
He argued that Lagos could work like developed countries where cabs do not endanger the lives of the people.
He said one good thing about the regulation is that it gives operators easy access to loan facilities.
Meanwhile, the House formally closed its seventh session Monday night after lawmakers were given the opportunity to speak about their experiences.
While many praised Ikuforiji for the way he led the House, some told him that in his future engagements, he should be mindful of time.
The latter set argued that the House lost many productive hours as a result of time wastage.
Some also recalled the three-year travail of the Speaker in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, while others advised incoming members of the Eighth Assembly to learn from the mistakes of the Seventh Assembly.