Cross section of some members of Lagos State Anti-Okada Ban Squad, in Alausa, Ikeja, on Tuesday at the orientation programme.

By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Bose Adelaja

Lagos State Government, yesterday, inaugurated Anti-Okada Squad, to enforce the Executive order on activities of commercial motorcyclists, popularly called “Okada ” riders across six Local Government Areas and nine Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, of the state, commencing today, June 1, 2O22.

At least 600 recruited members of the squad for the take-off of the enforcement attended the orientation exercise at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, organized by the state Ministry of Transportation, led by the Commissoner of the ministry, Dr. Frederick Oladeinde.

He was accompanied by Commissoner for Information and Strategy, Commissoner for Housing, Gbenga Omotoso and Moruf Akinderu-Faitai, MAF, respectively, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Kamal Olowosago, as well as other top government officials.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who earlier announced the planned ban on activities of Okada in the affected councils to commence on June 1, 2O22, had about a week ago, insisted on enforcement on the set date following plea from leadership of the Okada unions, who demanded for extension for the commencement of enforcement.

Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Fredrick Oladeinde, on Tuesday, said the aim for the setting up of the squad is to ensure effective enforcement of the order on the ban.

According to Oladeinde, “In line with the commencement of the ban of motorcycle operations within (6) LGs and the respective LCDAs under them, the Ministry of Transportation Inaugurated an Anti-Okada Squad.”

It was gathered that the squad would be complemented by armed members of the Nigeria Police, Army and other security agencies.

“Any impounded Okada would be taken to crushing plant for destruction while suspect would be prosecuted accordingly to the reviewed State Traffic Law,” a top government official told Vanguard on the condition of anonymity.

Recall that Sanwo-Olu had on May 10, 2021, reviewed the 2012 Lagos Traffic Law guiding the Okada operations, after his predecessors, Babatunde Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode’s administrations had banned their activities.

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

The latest ban however, came in the wake of series of concerns raised by a traditional ruler in Lekki area, Oniru of IruLand, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, Abisogun II, and residents on the urgent need to avert security breach in the area and by extension, the state.

A 37 year-old sound Engineer, Sunday- David Umoh, was lynched and burnt by irate Okada riders at Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos, Lekki Phase 1 Residents Association, LERA. He was a member of Legacy 360 Band, before he met his untimely death on Thursday, 12th May, 2022.

In a swift reaction to end the menace of Okada, Sanwo-Olu, at an emergency meeting with Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers, DPOs, at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja, announced a total ban on Okada on all highways across six LGAs, and nine, LCDAs, of the State.

Effective from June 1, 2022, the Governor, directed security operatives to enforce the proscription order across the listed councils. The affected councils: are Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa and extending to nine LCDAs.

The governor said the decision was in line with the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and menace created by operations of Okada in the listed areas.

Sanwo-Olu, while urging residents to stop patronising Okada riders on highways but embrace the alternative transport schemes already provided by the government to plan their journey which is Last Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses in the affected areas for convenience of commuters.

The governor insisted that Okada operations on the highways remained unsafe and would no longer be tolerated.

“Before the end of the year, we are also bringing the rail along these corridors with their terminals. We have provided jetties as well to provide alternatives.

All set for enforcement-Police

Earlier, the Lagos State Police Command has assured residents of adequate protection of lives and property as enforcement commences.

A statement by the state Commissoner for Police, Abiodun Alabi, dispelled wide spread rumours on likely breakdown of law and order in the wake of enforcement on Okada ban.

The statement read in part: “The attention of the Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to a panic-laced message making the rounds on social media purporting that motorcycle riders in the state have concluded plans to disrupt social and commercial activities in Lagos State from June 1, 2022 in protest of the ban on the use of motorcycles within six LGAs in Lagos State.

“The Cmmissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, CP Abiodun Alabi, fdc, psc, mnim uses this medium to assure all Lagosians that all necessary human, material and operational resources have been deployed across the state to forestall any breakdown of law and order.

“A carefully drafted security architecture, resulting from a detailed crime-mapping of the state has been emplaced across the length and breadth of the state. In addition, all Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and tactical commanders have been placed on red alert towards any eventuality.

“Alabi, therefore, enjoins all residents of Lagos State to go about their lawful businesses without fear of harassment or intimidation before, during and after the touted date for the purported civil disturbance, as officers and men of the Command are fully on top of the situation.”

LAGFERRY releases more boats to cushion effects

Meanwhile, ahead of the June 1, 2022, proposed commencement of enforcement on the operations of commercial motorcyclists, popularly called “Okada,” Lagos State Ferry Services LAGFERRY, said it has deployed more boats for operations to cushion the likely attendant effects on commuters.

Head, Public Affairs, LAGFERRY, Mr Akeem Odusina, who disclosed this on Tuesday, in Lagos, explained that the firm had also increased its daily operational trips at terminals, jetties located within the affected areas.
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Odusina listed the terminals and jetties to include: Badore Terminal, Ajah; Ipakodo Terminal, Ikorodu; Five Cowries Terminal, Ikoyi; CMS/Victoria Island Terminal, Liverpool Terminal, Apapa and Ilaje Bariga Terminal in Bariga.

According to him, travelling by water was 100 per cent traffic-free, adding that ”there were first-mile, last-mile buses available at the terminal, Jetty Parks to take passengers to their final destination.”

Odusina, assured the commuting public of safe, fast, reliable and convenient experience on the waterways, saying that the terminals had secured ample car park spaces.

According to him, “LAGFERRY boats are state-of- the-art built, equipped with modern technology like free Wi-fi, onboard entertainment and they are monitored in real time to ensure passengers safety.

”All Passengers on all trips have insurance covers provided by a consortium of reputable Insurance Companies led by the Lagos State Assurance Company Limited.

”The agency adheres strictly to all safety regulations, including compulsory wearing of life jackets and operating within regulated hours.”

Disclaimer

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