By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has expressed readiness to renew enforcement on the ban of commercial motorcycles, popularly, called “Okada” riders following flagrant disregard to the provisions of the 2018 Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law, restricting their operations in certain areas of the state.
In a similar situation, it has resumed dislodgement of illegal abattoirs, slaughterhouses, animal markets and other veterinary premises.
On the Okada clampdown, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, who stated this at the opening ceremony of the Year 2021 Lagos Traffic Radio General Staff Retreat themed: “Rekindling the Workforce for Effective Performance in the New Normal”, declared that the state Transportation Sector is set to experience a festival of projects, which the Station should give wide coverage to enlighten and educate Lagos residents.
According to him, the state government will soon take decisive steps on what will be done on the issue of Okada riders, in the state.
Ban: Lagos plans renewed clampdown on Okada, illegal abattoirs
“The menace of Okada riders has been of great concern to the state government, especially the increasing rate of crimes being perpetrated by some of the operators, and decisive steps will soon be taken to curb their excesses.”
”Also the government is planning the procurement of seven new ferries to strengthen water transportation so that when people have different alternatives that are safer and reliable, this menace of Okada will not only be a thing of the past but also improve the security of Lagosians,” he said.
Omotoso urged Lagos Traffic Radio to brace up in supporting and setting the Agenda for the State government to curtail the menace of commercial motorcycle riders as well as an enhancement of the Traffic Management and Transportation vision of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda.
He commended the Management of Lagos Traffic Radio for putting together the Retreat and urged the Station to position itself in supporting Government policies and programmes in the transportation sector, especially towards achieving the Intermodal Transport System aimed at ensuring free flow of traffic within the metropolis.
Stressing that Traffic Radio plays a key role in ensuring that the Traffic Management and Transportation thrust of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda is achieved, Omotoso noted that the state government has intensified efforts to deliver its intermodal transport system with the groundbreaking ceremony of the Red- Line rail project recently inaugurated by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, House Committee on Information Strategy and Security, Engineer Setonji David said the Lagos State House of Assembly would continue to provide enabling laws to assist the Lagos State government to achieve and deliver an efficient Intermodal Transportation System.
“As you know Lagos House of Assembly is the most active State Assembly in Nigeria and we are being headed by a man who will not rest until Lagosians get the dividends of democracy. So I can assure you that more projects are coming very soon”, David declared.
The General Manager of Lagos Traffic Radio, Mr Tayo Akanle explained that the Y2021 General Staff Retreat was borne out of the need to consolidate on the Y2020 Management Retreat, which focused on exploring innovative ways of operations especially in the new normal and to pull together major challenges faced in the day to day running of the Station, proffers lasting solutions, invents new ways for effective and efficient performance in the new normal, fostering teamwork, competence and good working relationship.
The General Manager said part of the expansion initiatives of the station was the recent launch of its Mobile Application, another interactive platform where traffic and other related information is disseminated to residents.
On the dislodgement of illegal abattoirs, slaughterhouses, animal markets and other veterinary premises, Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Abisola Olusanya, explained that the exercise was in continuation of the state government’s sanitization and reform of the red meat value chain with the goal of producing wholesome meat for the consumption of its citizenry.
The commissioner noted that the exercise was a follow-up to the dislodgement exercise subsequent to the re-inauguration of the State’s Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance (MEC) Team last year which was suspended as a result of the unrests that stemmed from the aftermath of the #endSARS protest.
According to her, a total of 15 operational outings were carried out by the MEC Team after its re-inauguration last year which resulted in the dislodgement of all illegal veterinary premises such as abattoirs, slaughterhouses, meat markets and animal clinics; and subsequent arrest of illegal operators as well as confiscation of stray animals and carcasses.
“We will all recall that in August 2020, we re-launched the new Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance (MEC) Team to commence a clampdown on all illegal slabs, animal markets, movement of unaccompanied animals as well as unregistered veterinary premises within the State.
“I can authoritatively say that the last outing was a huge success. A total of 15 operational outings were carried out where live animals and carcasses were confiscated. The live animals were returned to the owners after they were fined and issued stern warnings while carcasses that were certified fit for human consumption by our veterinary doctors were donated to Boys Correctional Homes and government-recognized orphanages.
“The exercise resulted in a lot of the erring butcher’s patronizing government-approved abattoirs and slaughterhouses while some are still recalcitrant. The operation had to be halted due to the unrest as a result of the End SARS protest which has given rise to the return of some of these illegal activities.
“It has been observed that animals slaughtered at these illegal slaughter slabs are not inspected by veterinary officials, as a result, the wholesomeness cannot be vouched for; hence the need for the MEC Team to go out again to continue the dislodgement exercise,” Olusanya stated.