BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI, MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO & DONALD ARJI
COMMERCIAL motorcycle operators popularly called ‘Okada riders’, once again yesterday stormed different parts of Lagos metropolis in protest against restriction placed on their operations by the new traffic law enacted in July.
According to sources, the Okada riders. numbering hundreds stormed major highways, such as Lagos Abeokuta Expressway, Agege, Ajegunle, Apapa, and Lagos Island areas, urging government to revert the restriction order on their operations.
Despite the on going fuel scarcity in the city, the operators chanting anti-government slogans, took over the roads causing traffic gridlock
It took combined team of Rapid Response Squad, RRS of the Nigeria police to quell the situation and restored normalcy.
Part of the new law restricts the operations of Okada on 475 roads across the state.
An official of the state Ministry of Transportation, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the protest, saying the situation was immediately put under check with no arrest made as the protesting Okada riders retreated accordingly.
Meantime, the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, has disclosed that the government has added 15,000 road signs in addition to the existing 10,000.
Opeifa said the massive installation of the signs would enable road-users to be conversant with the signs and their significance, adding that it would also assist road-users to know the restricted routes for motorcycles and tricycles, designated bus-stops, among others.
He, however, warned recalcitrant Okada riders and tri-cyclists in their own interest, to desist from plying the restricted 475 routes as anyone found violating the law will be appropriately sanctioned.
Soldier, driver arrested; vehicle impounded
Meantime, the Lagos state Government while enforcing the new traffic law has arrested a military officer and a truck driver for driving against traffic on the Third Mainland Bridge.
The officer identified as Lance Corporal Umar Usman, was arrested along with a 33 year old driver of an articulated truck, Mr. Sagir Abubakar.
It would be recalled that Governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola had in July arrested Colonel K.I. Yusuf and staff sergeant A.J. Adeomi for driving on the dedicated Bus rapid Transit, BRT, lane.
Speaking in an interview yesterday in Alausa, the Chairman of the Lagos State Environment Sanitation and Special Offences Agency, Superintendent Bayo Sulaimon added that the state government had in
the last one week arrested over 60 motor park touts across the state.
According to Sulaimon, “Usman and Abubakar were arrested on the Third Mainland Bridge at about 1:00 pm on Tuesday for driving an articulated truck against the traffic.”
He added “At the time of their arrest, all the vehicles moving on Bridge were expected to drive inward the Mainland and not outward. But they were found driving towards Marina.”
“While Usman was handed over to the Nigerian Army for disciplinary action, Abubakar has been charged to court and the vehicle has been impounded along with the goods found in the truck. They will be auctioned according to the 2012 road traffic law of the state.
“The goods we found in the truck were Rice, Sugar and Cements.”
Sulaimon lamented that the act showed that both men needed urgent reorientation.
According to him; “the Bullion Van that was arrested last month will also be auctioned immediately after the expiration of the two months stipulated by the new law of the state.”
Click here for the offence and penalties in the Lagos Traffic Law