okada ban in Lagos

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Evelyn Usman

Lagos State Government, yesterday, insisted that there is no going back on the ban of commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada riders, slated to commence today, saying riders and passengers risk three years jail term for violation.

The state government had banned Okada operations in four additional Local Government Areas, LGA, and Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs.

The four additional councils and six LCDAs affected include Kosofe LGA, Ikosi-Isheri LCDA, Agboyi-Ketu LCDA, Oshodi-Isolo LGA, Isolo LCDA, Ejigbo, Shomolu LGA, Bariga LCDA and Mushin LGA, Odi-Olowo LCDA.

Speaking at an inter-ministerial media briefing on preparedness for commencement of the Phase 2 total ban on Okada operations, held at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde; Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso; Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, and Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Sola Giwa, reiterated that the Ministerial Committee on Okada has re-emphasised the need for total compliance with the Okada ban, as the commencement begins.

Oladeinde said: “For the purpose of emphasis and clarification, the State Government has extended the ban of Okada Operations to the following Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas in a bid to further promote and ensure the Safety and Security of lives and properties in the State

“As a responsive government, we are not leaving the affected passengers who patronise these Okada stranded without any viable means of transportation, that is why we have made available alternative and sustainable means of transportation such as the First and Last Mile Bus Transport Scheme, the BRT Scheme, the Lagos e-hailing taxi Scheme, LAGRIDE, and other acceptable modes of transportation to go about their daily activities.

“As for the riders, we have also made available existing interventions aimed at empowering citizens as an alternative means of livelihood.”

Giwa, in his contribution, urged all Okada riders and passengers to comply with the ban saying “We are losing our artisans to Okada operations. We will not condone this unacceptable act, as we are ready to enforce the ban to the latter.”

Okada riders protest

With the ban taking effect today, some commercial motorcyclists, yesterday, besieged the Lagos House, urging Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to suspend the proposed ban on Okada riders.

Chairman of MOALS Lagos State Zone C, Mr Tijani Pekins, who led the protest, urged the state government to engage the association and work out modalities to safe millions of members, whose livelihoods will be massively affected by the enforcement of the ban.

500 security agents to enforce ban

Similarly, over 500 security agents comprising the Police, Military, Department of State Security, DSS, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, among other paramilitary agencies, yesterday, embarked on a show of force around Lagos metropolises.

This was in readiness of the enforcement in four additional local government areas in Lagos.

Addressing the security agents, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos Command, CP Abiodun Alabi, warned that violators of the ban would be promptly arrested and prosecuted.

He  said: “Law abiding Lagosians should go about their lawful duties without fear of harassment or intimidation.”

Mass exodus of

Okada riders    Meanwhile,  Okada  riders have been leaving the affected  council areas in droves since last week.

Some of them were sighted in lorries, with their motorbikes leaving  Ejigbo, Jaknade and   Isolo areas.

While some of them moved to other local government areas not affected by the total ban, others relocated to their respective hometowns.

Some of them, who spoke with Vanguard, however, expressed fear of going back to the northern part of the country owing to  the state of insecurity.

One of them, Salisu Ahmed, who spoke with Vanguard, said: “We don’t have any choice than to leave for now. For me, I may not work with  Okada  again. I am going to learn how to sew and repair shoes. Some of my brothers are relocating to other states because we cannot go to our villages that have been ravaged by terrorists.”

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