Okada Ban: Lagos Govt Unleashes 600 Anti-Okada Enforcement Squad On Motorcyclists

LAGOS JUNE 1ST (NEWSRANGERS)-As the enforcement on the ban on commercial motorcycles in six local government areas of Lagos State and their local councils begins today, the Lagos State Government, yesterday, inaugurated Anti-Okada Squad to enforce the ban.

No fewer than 600 recruited members of the squad attended the orientation exercise at the Adeyemi Bero auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, organised by the state Ministry of Transportation.
This came as the Lagos State Police Command said it was ready to carry out enforcement of the ban to the latter, warning commercial motorcyclists to stay clear of the banned routes or leave Lagos.

Besides, the Lagos State Ferry Services, LAGFERRY, said it had deployed more boats for operations to cushion the likely attendant effects of the ban on commuters .

State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Fredrick Oladeinde, explained that the aim for setting up of the squad was to ensure effective enforcement of the order on the ban.

According to Oladeinde, “In line with the commencement of the ban on motorcycle operations within six LGAs and the respective Local Council Development Areas, the Ministry of Transportation inaugurated an anti-Okada squad.”

It was gathered that the squad would be complemented by armed members of the Nigeria Police, the Army and other security agencies.

“Any impounded Okada will be taken to the crushing plant for destruction, while suspects will be prosecuted according to the reviewed state traffic law,” a top government official told Vanguard on the condition of anonymity.

Show of Force
To send a note of warning on its readiness, the Lagos State Police Command embarked on a show of force with other security agencies comprising Navy, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos Safety Neighbourhood Corps and Federal Road Safety Corps, yesterday.
The joint operational procession started from the Command headquarters, Ikeja, to Maryland, Surulere, Itire, Ikate, Orile Iganmu and Lekki areas of the state.

During the exercise, officials of the Ministry of Information distributed fliers to residents on the ban. They also had a sensitisation campaign with Okada riders in the three major Nigerian dialects, apparently to pass the message better to them. They urged the riders to obey the Lagos State Government’s directive on the ban.

In an interview with journalists at the end of the Show of Force, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations, Ahmad Kontagora, explained that “the show of force is a clear signal to those who are not ready to stand by the law of the state. We will not take it lightly with those who are criminals among them. We are proactive and battle-ready to enforce the law and it would be a reality because Lagos State is not the only state where Okadas were banned and Lagos will not be exceptional. It has taken place in other states, we are going to fight it until we succeed.

“Law-abiding citizens should go about their lawful business without fear and they should be rest assured that they can sleep with their two eyes closed. We won’t allow the criminally minded among the riders to rest until we achieve our aims.

“We will not humiliate or torture anyone arrested. Rather, they will face their charges at the court of law.”

Earlier, the Lagos State Police Command, Abiodun Alabi, assured Lagosians of adequate protection of lives and property as the enforcement commences. He also dispelled rumours of likely breakdown of law and order in the wake of enforcement on Okada ban.

The ban
Recall that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had on May 10, 2021, reviewed the 2012 Lagos Traffic Law guiding Okada operations, after his predecessors, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode’s administrations banned their activities

Fashola had signed the Lagos Road Traffic Law 2012, which restricts okada operations in at least 492 of the 9200 roads across the metropolis in an effort to reduce the menace of their operations in recent past.

The latest ban, however, came in the wake of series of concerns raised by a traditional ruler in Lekki area, Oniru of IruLand, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, Abisogun II, and residents, on the urgent need to avert security breach in the area and by extension, the state.

This followed the recent attack on a 37-year-old sound engineer, Sunday- David Umoh. He was lynched by irate Okada riders at Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos, Lekki Phase 1.

Govt dismisses anxiety over Okada
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has reassured residents over the ban.
A statement by Gbenga Omotoso, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said: “There is no need for any anxiety over the enforcement of the ban, which has been hailed by the majority of Lagosians as a reinforcement of the Lagos Traffic Law 2012 (amended in 2018).

“The government wishes to advise all law-abiding citizens to go about their businesses without any fear whatsoever as measures have been put in place to forestall any disturbance. Lagosians and visitors are urged to co-operate with the law enforcement agencies in our collective interest.”

Okada riders react
Some of the riders who spoke with Vanguard expressed willingness to obey the order. But others said they would observe the situation for just two days, after which the enthusiasm on the part of the security agencies would die down.

One of them, Ahmed Musa , who conveyed our reporter from Apapa to Berger Yard bus-stop during the investigation, said: ” I will stay away for two days because I don’t want to be a sacrificial lamb. But trust Nigerians, it will soon phase out, after all, this is not the first time they would ban our activities on some routes.”

Another rider, Chijioke Nwampi, said: “It will not go well with those who caused this pain on genuine riders. I started riding Okada in 2012. This is what I use to cater for my family. I have never used it to rob. I have never been involved in an accident either because I always ride with caution. I wonder what life will become when the ban starts tomorrow.”

However, for some, they threatened to resist any attempt to restrict their movement. One of them who identified himself simply as Ganiu, spoke in pigin English, saying: “Them go kill us tire. We no be thief, we no get work, wetin government want make we do?”

Arewa community, others react
But the Arewa Community said its members who are commercial motorcyclists had vacated all prohibited routes in the state.

In a telephone conversation with Vanguard, Secretary-General, Lagos State Arewa Community, LASACOMM, Musa Saleh, clarified that all commercial motorcyclists in Lagos State were not members of the Arewa Community.

He informed that the community had embarked on training and sensitisation of members to ensure total compliance, stating that any member found wanting was on his own.

He said: “As for compliance, we have no issue with that because we are aware of the law. Our members have complied with the ban even before it took effect. We are in talks with all stakeholders in the state and the chairman of Arewa Okada riders have been to all local governments to ensure compliance.

“Nigerians should understand the fact that not all Okada riders are members of Arewa Community. We may comply while other tribes don’t. People should know that there are other tribes who ride Okada in Lagos but attention is usually focused on Arewa. We have tried our best and we expect other tribes to follow suit.”

Similarly, the Vice-Chairman, Motorcycle Associations of Lagos State, MOALS, Mr Kayode Pashoku, popularly called Jendor, said there would be a clampdown on erring motorcyclists with special attention on Ikorodu to Ketu areas.

Speaking with Vanguard, he said: “We are going to work with the security operatives and our internal task force to chase Okada riders who ply Ikorodu/Mile 12 Road. The enforcement will kick off at Ikorodu garage, down to Ketu/Mile 12.”

Lagosians panic
Already, Lagosians have been sending text messages to their loved ones residing in the affected areas to remain indoors today, in order to avoid getting entangled in any likely skirmishes between some of the riders who have threatened to resist the Police during the enforcement of the ban.

Some Lagosians on the other hand, called on the Lagos State Government to address the perennial gridlock in the state, the same way it was addressing the menace of okada riders.
A freight forwarder, Mr Gilbert James, said: ” Apapa is not motorable and the only means to access there is with motorcycles. As much as I agree with the government’s decision on the ban, I want to appeal to it to address the gridlock on this axis. We should not be made to suffer for its lapses.”

Okada riders relocate
Meanwhile, Vanguard observed that some commercial motorcyclists have started relocating to their hometowns, apparently for fear of the outcome of the enforcement of the ban. Some of them were sighted loading their motorbikes into trucks Monday night. Others, however, were relocating to areas not affected by the total ban.

LAGFERRY releases more boats to cushion effects

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Ferry Services LAGFERRY, said it has deployed more boats for operations to cushion the likely attendant effects on commuters as the ban on Okada commences today.

Head, Public Affairs, LAGFERRY, Mr Akeem Odusina, who disclosed this yesterday, explained that the firm had also increased its daily operational trips at terminals and jetties located within the affected areas..

Odusina listed the terminals and jetties to include: Badore Terminal, Ajah; Ipakodo Terminal, Ikorodu; Five Cowries Terminal, Ikoyi; CMS/Victoria Island Terminal, Liverpool Terminal, Apapa and Ilaje Bariga Terminal in Bariga.

According to him, travelling by water was 100 percent traffic-free, adding that there were first-mile, and last-mile buses available at the terminal and Jetty Parks that would take passengers to their final destinations.”

Odusina, assured members of the public of a safe, fast, reliable and convenient experience on the waterways, adding that the terminals had also secured ample car park spaces.
He said “LAGFERRY boats are state-of-the-art built and are equipped with modern technology like free Wi-fi, onboard entertainment and they are monitored in real time to ensure passengers safety.

” Passengers on all trips have insurance cover provided by a consortium of reputable Insurance Companies led by the Lagos State Assurance Company Limited.

“The agency adheres strictly to all safety regulations, including compulsory wearing of life jackets and operating within regulated hours”, he informed.

Vanguard

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Posted by on Jun 1 2022. Filed under National. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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