March 5, 2016

INSECURITY: Lagos seeks total ban of Okada


Okada riders protesting in Ondo

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

There are indications that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode is disposed to imposing a total ban on commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada, in Lagos State.

Okada riders protesting in Ondo


The move, it was learnt, is not unconnected with the Thursday clash in Ketu-Mile 12 area of the state, allegedly triggered by a dispute between an Okada operator and a passersby, which led to loss of lives and property worth millions of naira

A source at the Government House, Alausa, at the weekend, said Ambode was under pressure and may approach the state House of Assembly to amend the law restricting Okada on some routes to total ban of their operations in the state.

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

The source said Ambode was not comfortable with the flagrant abuse of the law by Okada riders, coupled with reports of robbery incidents in recent times allegedly perpetrated with the use of Okada.

Don’t forget that there is a law on ground that restricts them on certain routes in the state but they have not been adhering to the law. They find a way to circumvent the law and government has a duty to safeguard innocent lives. Most of them drive against traffic during the day and at night; so, government is weighing the option strongly that the best thing is to ban Okada outrightly and it is in the interest of the state to do so”, the source added.

“They (Okada riders) are gradually becoming a menace in Lagos and it is evident in the way they ply restricted routes at any time of the day.

“You are also aware of the recent bloody clash in Ketu-Mile 12 and the increasing threat to lives and property by terrorists in the country; it has, therefore, become expedient and imperative for government to ponder on this option.

“The governor is seriously considering this move because he feels that a mega city like Lagos cannot harbour Okada. He feels that the Lagos economy and most especially the transport sector cannot be driven by Okada”.