February 2, 2020

Knocks, kudos as LASG enforces ban on Okada, Keke NAPEP

Knocks, kudos as LASG enforces ban on Okada, Keke NAPEP

Stranded passenger at Costain roundabout

Enforcement records voluntary compliance
Commuters stranded as “Danfo” drivers hike fares
LASG hails operators, residents for compliance level
Describes devt as “impressive, satisfactory’

Knocks, kudos as LASG enforces ban on Okada, Keke NAPEP

Stranded passenger at Costain roundabout

Our correspondents

Residents in Lagos on Saturday, February 1st, 2020, woke up to the stark reality of a new dawn in traffic order as the metropolis was devoid of usual activities of commercial motorcyclists, popularly called, “Okada” and tricyclists, “Keke NAPEP, ” in compliance with the state government ban on their operations in selected areas of the state.

Recall that the state government had last Monday, announced plans to commence total enforcement of Reform Traffic Law of 2018 on activities of the operators on restricted routes and bridges across 15 Local Government Areas of the state starting from February 1st.
The following are the Local Government Areas, LGAs and Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs the operators are banned: Apapa LGA, Apapa Iganmu LCDA, Lagos Mainland LGA, Yaba LCDA, Surulere LGA, Itire-Ikate LCDA, and Coker-Aguda LCDA.

Others are: Ikeja LGA, Onigbongbo, LCDA, Ojodu LCDA, Eti-Osa LGA, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, and Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, Lagos Island LGA and Lagos Island East LCDA.

While their operations are restricted on the following highways and bridges: Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Oworonshoki-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos-Ikorodu Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Eti-Osa/Lekki-Epe Expressway, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Funsho Williams Avenue, Agege Motor Road, Eti-Osa Lekki Coastal Road.

The bridges are Apapa-Iganmu, Apapa-Ijora Link Bridge, Liverpool Bridge, Apapa, Mile 2 Bridge-Loop, Amuwo-Odofin, Okota (Cele)/Ijesha Link Bridge, Iyana- Ipaja, Dopemu north in Agege, Airport/Ikeja, Agege Motor Road/Oshodi Loop, Oshodi, Mushin/Isolo Link Bridge, Dorman Long Bridge, Ojuelegba Bridge, National Stadium Flyover, Apakun/Apapa-Oshodi Bridge Network, Ikorodu Road/Anthony Cloverleaf Bridge.

Trade Fair Flyover, Festac/Amuwo-Odofin Link Bridge, Flyover Bridges along Alhaji Masha Road, Ojota Cloverleaf Bridge, Ogudu Bridge, Third Mainland Bridge, Maryland flyover, Ikeja General Hospital Flyover Bridge, Kodesoh Bridge, Oba Akran, Ikeja, Opebi Link Bridge, Sheraton-Opebi Bridge, Jibowu/Yaba flyover Bridge, Carter Bridge, Lagos, Bariga-Ifako Bridge, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway/Alapere Bridge.

Bariga/Oworonsoki Bridge, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway/Gbagada U-Turn, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Third Mainland/Oworonsoki Bridge, Eko Bridge, Apongbon flyover Bridge, Cowry Bridge (Officers Mess), Mcwen Bridge (Bonny Camp), Marina/Ikoyi Bridge, Ikoyi/Obalende Bridge.

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While most residents hailed the state government for taking a bold step to ban Okada in the state, others flayed the government for adding to the hardship of already depressed residents.

However, it was gathered that some law enforcement officers were seen on the eve when the ban was to take off at about 8.30 pm were seen arresting O’pay bike riders and others around Ikeja..

Vanguard observed that the operators complied with the ban across all identified routes and bridges in the state.

Ikeja which is one of the areas affected was seen in the early hours, Saturday, free of Okada and Keke NAPEP operators against the usual large numbers in the area.

Following the disappearance of Okada from the roads, as early as 7.30 am, yesterday, various commuters were seen stranded at Ikeja Bus stops, Oniwaya Road, on Agege, and environs due to the scarcity of buses and the operators

Some of the commuters resorted to trekking to their destinations.

Strict compliance to the commercial motorcycle and tricycles at Ikeja Secretariat, Ojodu Berger, Ikeja under the bridge and Allen Avenue

Danfo Divers hike fares at Oyingbo bus stop

The operators kept off Costain Roundabout where they have their park. passengers going to Oju Elegba, Mushin, Bode-Thomas and Aguda were stranded.

While some passengers refused to enter others with pressing task rushed in the bus.

Some of the Area Boys who spoke with vanguard correspondent said that on a normal day, he used to be at the junction by 6:00 am and before 9:00 am he would have made up to N3, 000 and most time by close of work at night he would deliver N9, 000 out of which they will give him N2,000 as take home.

At the end of the month, he makes up to N50, 000 out of which he will do contribution, settle the family, by alcohol for friends and also settle side chicks.

Some Keke NAPEP, passenger also expressed frustration

ALSO READ: Okada riders poise for war in Lagos

At 7:30 this morning in Lakowe area of Ajah some of the tricycle operators who were initially afraid to ply the road started working and picking passengers later in the day.
While commercial Okada riders restricted their operations to inner roads and streets.

Okada riders head to North in hundreds

Few hours to enforcement, truck-load with motorbike were spotted on Friday night leaving the Ijegun-Satelite Town, Ojo area for the North.

In an interaction with one of them, who identified himself as Muhammed on the reason behind leaving Lagos, he said, “We have been leaving since December 2019. It pays to carry our Okada back to Arewa with N11,000 rather than allow Police demand N20,000 and we won’t be assured of getting our bikes back.

In the same vein, police officers were seen with patrol vans on Oshodi-Apapa Express looking out for defaulters.

From Ikorodu axis: Some uniform men were seen riding motorcycles on the highway at Majidun inward Ikorodu. They wore no helmet and the motorcycles were less than 200 installed capacity as stipulated by the Traffic Rule.

Compliance at Iyana-Ipaja

There was also compliance in Iyana-Ipaja bus stop as the usual hustling bus stop of the operators was completely deserted.

Some of the miscreants, “Area boys” who were seen under the pedestrian bridge lamented at the development describing the development as ‘bad market.”

One of the Agbero’s who identifies himself as Taiwo said: ‘This is a complete bad market, imagine I have not eaten morning food all because the Okada guys did not work and I cannot collect money from the yellow bus because it is not my jurisdiction’.

The Opay bus stop which is under the Iyana-Ipaja bridge was completely out of service.
While Police from Iyana-Ipaja division and Aboru were on ground to arrest offenders and also control traffic at Iyana-Ipaja bus stop.

There was partial compliance was noticed at Ojota/Oregun Road as some commercial motorcyclists and tricyclics flout the restriction order but were apprehended by law enforcement agents.

Area Boys were seen giving information to the defiant riders as commuters lamented the restriction order.

At Ojota/Oregun Road, some Area Boys mobilised to attack the enforcement team but were overpowered as four commercial tricycles were impounded at about 10.30 am.

A commuter, Mr Akinwale Abioudun, who spoke to Vanguard on the development, condemned the total ban on the operators, particularly, the Keke NAPEP, saying, “it is going to bring a lot of hardship on the masses who don’t own a car. I’m sure by Monday, next week, the situation will become worse. The government should have left Keke NAPEP out of this ban.”

On the hike, a journey from Costain, Oju Elegba that normally cost N50 rose to N100, Fadeyi that normally cost N100 currently charge N150, while Ikeja that cost N200 from costain roundabout now goes for N300.

Some of the Area Boys that use to extort Keke and Okada riders were left idle as they were seen drinking alcohol to control their frustration.

Some of the Keke drivers who spoke with vanguard correspondent also expressed displeasure as they explained that some Keke were bought on hire purchase.

Commuters, artisans lament in Victoria Island

Lagos residents residing in Victoria Island part of Lagos who are not mobile have since morning resorted to trekking to their various destinations as Keke NAPEP and Okada operators observe total compliance to the ban.

This development has created room for bicycle owners to flood different streets of Victoria Island.

Also, commuters who are supposed to be indifferent occasions were stranded and lamented as taxi and bus drivers decided to hike transport fares.

For instance, from Obalende to Eko hotels that used to be #100 is now between N150 and N200.

Within the streets of Victoria Island that normally cost N100, taxi drivers are now charging N1000 and above while the
A resident who resides at Bishop Oluwole street that wants to attend a wedding at Idowu Taylor, Mrs Florence Bassey, told Vanguard that over two hours, she has not been able to get a vehicle and she doesn’t have #1000 to give to a taxi driver.

She said: “I want to start trecking to the place now even with my high heels as I don’t have any other alternative.”

She wants the government to reverse the order so that life can be normal again.

Commercial motorcyclists abandon Ketu bus stop. Our Correspondent who visited the area met some of them at Ikosi road, where they gathered to plan for their survival.

Commercial motorcyclists abandoned Ketu bus stop in Lagos for fear of being arrested by the police.

Our Correspondent, who visited the area met some of them along Ikosi road. One of them, who gave his name as Tunde, said: “It is safe to operate along this road, provided we don’t get to the Tollgate.”

Strict compliance noticed in Ikorodu especially at Ikorodu Roundabout, Benson Bus-stop and Sagamu Road as commercial motorcycles popularly called ‘Okada Rider’ and tricycles popularly called ‘Keke NAPEP’ or ‘Keke Marwa’ kept off the axis.

It also applied to Agric bus-stop, Ogolonto and Ipakodo where activities of Okada and Keke NAPEP were not noticed.

It was observed that Ikorodu/Mile 12 Road which used to be a hub of such activities was completely free of ‘Okada ‘ and ‘Keke NAPEP’. Ketu/Ojota axis of Ikorodu Road was not left out as the axis was free from such activities.

However, partial compliance was noticed at Oregun Road, Ikeja, as some banned operators plying Oregun/Alausa and Ikeja were seen on queue picking passengers.

Vanguard observed that the riders were being aided by some miscreants called “Area Boys” who stood at strategic positions to monitor law enforcement agents and divulge information to the erring riders.

The exercise almost resulted into chaos on Oregun Road as some Area Boys launched an attack on the enforcement team but they were overpowered as the team was reinforced and three commercial motorcycles were impounded and the riders arrested.

At Majidun/Ogolonto, the compliance was not totally observed by some uniform men who were plying the roads on motorcycles without wearing helmets while the motorcycles were less than 200 capacity (cc) as stipulated by the state government.

Meanwhile, a despatch rider who drove from Ikeja to Igando told our correspondent that he was not accosted by the police.

But Opay riders were being arrested by policemen.

All Keke and Okada plying from Iyana-oba to Igando/Egbeda kept off the road for fear of arrest.

Keke and Okada riders were seen packed somewhere inside Igando. Some of them plied the high way but for fear of arrest, they decided to pack their Keke to see what the outcome of the day would be like.

Police patrol vans were seen monitoring commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators compliance along Lekki Ajah express. No sign of motorcycle except dispatch riders.

Lagos State task force and enforcement officials in their patrol vehicles were seen monitoring activities along Lekki Ajah express as other roads users experienced a little bit of sanity with the recent development.

However, some Keke were seen plying from First gate, LASU- Igando road to Igando with no arrest.

Ban on Okada unwarranted, needless ― Lagos PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State, on Saturday, described the ban on Okada and Keke NAPEP in some areas of the state as unwarranted and needless.

Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Lagos State, Mr Taofik Gani lambasted the state government over the ban saying it will bring about untold hardship to Lagosians and also increase the crime rate in the state.

There was strict compliance at CMS, Marina and Victoria Island. No single tricycle or Okada at their usual parks.

LASG reacts

Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in his reaction, described the level of compliance as “impressive and satisfactory.”

According to Omotoso, “I must commend and thanks Lagos residents and Okada operators for complying with the ban. We have not seen Lagos this beautiful, this clean, this orderly in a long while.

“I just want to appeal and urge residents to be patient with the present administration led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in its drive to deliver Greater Lagos. All of this is to bring benefit to the majority of residents that is why the government is here.

“I went around the city today and I could see that a measure of sanity has returned to the roads. The menace and danger Okada poses to lives can’t be quantified, hence the need to phase them out. This is the first phase, the government shall surely extend it to other parts in due course.”

On hoke of transport fares by commercial drivers, Omotoso, appeal for caution urging them not to rubbish the good intention of the state government for residents by catching in on the absence of the Okada to exploit commuters.

Omotoso, who described the acts as “unpatriotic and exploitative,” called on the leadership of transport unions in the state to prevail by the setting mechanism in place to check the excesses of its members over the home in fares.

Omotoso, however, dismissed a statement by PDP which said the ban was needless, saying, the party has never be known for anything progressive, hence, its statement should be disregarded by the public.

Also, at press time men of Lagos State Taskforce and other enforcement agencies, like Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Rapid Response Team, RRS, among others were seen in their vans patrolling major areas affected by the ban.