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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Lagos begins total enforcement on okada riders

Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government says it is beginning full enforcement on okada riders from plying the restricted 475 roads across the state, saying it was not going to be business as usual.
In recent time, okada riders have taken over the state’s highway in flagrant disregard to the Road Traffic Law restricting them from plying major highways in the state.
At a joint press conference on Thursday in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, addressed by the state government and the police, Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Anofiu Elegushi warned that government would no longer tolerate okada riders on restricted roads, highways and bridges.
“We will not condone okada riding against traffic, especially those who ply their trade along Lagos- Abeokuta Expressway and Ojota-Ikorodu Town and who use BRT restricted/reserve lane. All these are not in sync with the Law. There is a need for us to, at this time, restate the provisions of the law so as to understand the premise of our planned actions in this regard,” he said.
“In line with this administration’s plan to build a Lagos that works for all, we are determined to engage with unions/associations of tricycle operators and okada operators to ensure their members engage with us in the process of ensuring public safety.
“Our present concern is also borne of the need to prevent accidents resulting from okada which is on the increase currently. By implication, there are increased (death) cases of causalities or maiming resulting therefrom; there is a surge in driving against traffic by okada. We are also witnessing a huge increase in motorcycle related crime,” he added.
Elegushi said that the reduction in enforcement that had been witnessed was a fall out of the need to restrategize and undertake enforcement in a more civilized manner as dictated by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, adding that the nature of enforcement required that “we have broad database to ensure compliance and enhance the capacity of government to enforce.”
The acting commissioner stated equivocally that the era of impunity and crime enhanced and facilitated by okada riders were over, as government would enforce the law to the letter.
“It is not uncommon to hear from the media or read report from the Nigeria Police about criminals using Okada as get away. So also we have reported incidences of okada being used instances of kidnap. Any responsible government must then act promptly in this regard. This is why we are taking this step.
“Against this background, we are left with little or no choice than to restart enforcement. This, we will do in association in all unions involved. We will set up joint enforcement teams to ensure that we get rid of this menace,” he said.
Elegushi called on all enforcement agencies-Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS,) taskforce and the Nigeria police to immediately and continuously embark on enforcement on all restricted routes.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde said the government would not want to see okada riders plying the state’s highways from now henceforth as the law enforcement agents would descend heavily on them.
He explained that out of the 9,000 roads in Lagos, okada riders were only restricted from plying 475 roads, while they could ply the rest.
A representative of the Lagos Commissioner of Police, ACP Imohim Edgal said the police all Lagos police area commands had been directed to enforce aggressively the restriction placed on okada riders from plying the restricted routes.

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