By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Ahead of the June 1, 2022, commencement of ban on commercial motorcyclists, popularly called “Okada ” riders, the Lagos State Government has concluded arrangement to inaugurate Anti-Okada Squad for enforcement.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who earlier announced the planned ban on activities of Okada in 6 Local Government Areas and nine Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, to commence on June 1, 2022, two weeks ago, had insisted on enforcement on the set date following plea from leadership of the Okada union, 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 is Inaugurating an Anti-Okada Squad.
“The event is taking place by 2.00pm at Adeyemi Bero Hall, the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.”
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.