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Photo: Aisha Salaudeen

The Lagos Motorbike Taxi Drivers Who Survived Boko Haram

Many displaced by the insurgency have found a new role as okada drivers in Lagos

Dressed in a sky blue shirt and grey sweatpants, John Thomas shows up on his motorbike. There are smears of dry sand and mud on the tyres and body of his bike, from a long day of transporting passengers around Lagos Island.

"The motorbike is a lifeline. I started riding full time when I moved to Lagos in 2015" he says. Thomas belongs to a clique with hundreds of other motorbikers who ride commercially around the Island in Lagos to earn a living. Lagos Island places like Obalende, CMS, Victoria Island, Lekki and Ajah overflow with men who operate their bikes like buses or trains, they pick passengers at a stop and drop them off at another stop for a fee. These motorbike taxis are known colloquially as "okadas."

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