By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced a total ban on operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, in Lekki and other places.
At a meeting on Wednesday, he said the directive will become effective from June 1, 2022, and affects six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the state.
According to him, okada riders will not be allowed to ply highways in these areas, which include Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa.
The action of the governor followed the growing menace and nuisance constituted by commercial motorcycles in the state, including the lynching of a Sound Engineer, Mr David Imoh, in the Lekki area of the state last week.
This is not the first time Mr Sanwo-Olu is restricting operations of commercial motorcycles as in February 2020, he banned Okada operations in the state.
At the meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) at the State House in Alausa today, the Governor said the state government would not condone any security formation that relaxes the new ban in its jurisdiction.
“After critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated. We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Governments and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.
“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do. We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total,” he said.
Mr Sanwo-Olu advised residents patronising Okada riders on highways to embrace the alternative transport schemes already provided by the government to plan their journey.
He said the government had provided last mile buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses in the affected areas for the convenience of commuters.
The Governor insisted that Okada riding on the highways remained unsafe and would no longer be tolerated, noting that the state government had been ramping up construction work on its two rail line projects to further increase the choices of commuting for residents.
“We have provided last-mile buses in the affected areas; they are working and effective. We also have medium-capacity buses and high-capacity buses working in these areas. Before the end of the year, we are also bringing the rail along these corridors with their terminals. We have provided jetties as well to provide alternatives.
“We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use that mode of transportation (motorcycles) to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos.
“Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws. The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement,” he said.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Abiodun Alabi, directed his men to ensure complete enforcement of the Governor’s order in the listed councils and areas.