By Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Lagos State Government has officially 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.

Vanguard had earlier reported the creation of the squad by the state government about two weeks ago when it organised a re-orientation and training exercise for the squad, held at the state Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

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.

In line with the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL), 2018, the Squad, will join the Police to enforce the ban in all affected areas and on all highways, major roads and bridges in the state.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, yesterday, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the Special Anti-Okada Squad will be reporting to the Police.

Oladeinde, stressed that the aim for the setting up of the squad is to ensure effective enforcement of the order on the ban.

While urging the citizenry to collaborate with the state government to combat the Okada menace, the commissioner stressed that it is the responsibility of the public to report any nefarious activities of the squad to the Ministry of Transportation or through the following help/complaint lines: 09038208154, 09034810153, 09033090826 and 09169655855.

Oladeinde added that such reports will help the government generate feedback on strategies for the protection of lives and property.

He therefore, warned that individuals arrested (riders and passengers) will be made to face the full wrath of the law in line with the provision of Section 46, sub-section 1, 2 and 3 of the TSRL, 2018.

Oladeinde reiterated that motorcycles impounded will be crushed in the public glare.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Kamar Olowoshago, also urged the Anti-Okada personnel to be diligent and honest in the discharge of their duties.

Also at the inauguration was the Commissioner for Housing, Fatai Akinderu, who later presented completion of training certificates to the squad.

June 1 ban

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who had earlier announced the planned ban and enforcement on activities of Okada in the affected councils which commenced on June 1, 2O22, about three weeks ago, insisted on enforcement on the set date despite plea from leadership of the Okada unions, who demanded for extension for the commencement of enforcement.

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.

Disclaimer

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