Police in Nigeria have arrested scores of motorcycle taxi riders with dried fruit shells, paint pots or pieces of rubber tire tied to their heads with string to avoid a new law requiring them to wear helmets.
The regulations have caused chaos around Africa’s most populous nation, with motorcyclists complaining helmets are too expensive and some passengers refusing to wear them fearing they will catch skin disease or be put under a black magic spell.
The law, which came into force on January 1, pits two factions equally feared by the common motorist against one another: erratic motorcycle taxis known as “Okadas,” whose owners are notorious for road-rage, and the bribe-hungry traffic police.
Some bikers have used calabashes — dried shells of pumpkin-sized fruit usually used as a bowl — or pots and pans tied to their heads with string to try to dodge the rules.
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