By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Following rising cases of menace and nuisance constituted by commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada,
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, announced a total ban on Okada on all highways across six Local Government Areas, LGAs, and nine Local Council Development Areas, 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.
The total ban order also extends to all LCDAs under the listed councils.
Sanwo-Olu gave out the directive at a meeting with Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers, DPOs, at the State House, Alausa, Ikeja on May 19, 2022.
The fresh Okada ban followed the February 2020 restriction placed on the activities of the commercial motorcycles across the metropolis.
Sanwo-Olu said government took the decision 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 told the police to enforce the order without compromise, sternly warning that the State Government would not condone any security formation that relaxes the new ban in its jurisdiction.
He said: “After critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated.
“We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Government and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.
“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do.
“We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total.”
Sanwo-Olu advised residents patronising Okada riders on highways to embrace the alternative transport schemes already provided by the Government to plan their journey. He said the Government had provided Last Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses in the affected areas for the convenience of commuters.
The Governor insisted that Okada riding on the highways remained unsafe and would no longer be tolerated.
He said the state government had been ramping up construction work on its two rail line projects to further increase the choices of commuting for residents.
According to Sanwo-Olu: “We have provided Last Mile buses in the affected areas; they are working and effective. We also have medium-capacity buses and high-capacity buses working in these areas.
“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.
“We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use that mode of transportation (motorcycles) to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos.
“Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws.
“The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement.”
However, following the commencement of the total ban on June 1, at least over 3,000 impounded Okada have been crushed by the state government and more are biked for crushing on the on-going clampdown.
Earlier, while urging operators and residents to fully comply with the order,
state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso reiterated that the ban was taken to ensure security and safety of residents.
According to him: “During the first quarter of this year, the record shows that over 1,712 accidents were recorded, with okada constituting 767 or 45 percent of them.
“Of all the victims, 54 per cent are between 30 and 39 years old; our young people.”
Also, Chairman of the Lagos State Envoronmental Sanitation and Special Offences (Taskforce), Unit, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP, Sola Jejeloye, warned operators to steer clear the affected roads as “any violator will not be spared and prosecuted in accordance with the state Traffic Law.
The followings are the details of the affected councils and streets: