Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The joint enforcement team of the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has crushed 432 motorcycles recently seized from violators of its ban on activities of commercial motorcyclists.
The team had conducted a raid of major road arteries connecting communities along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport road, Abuja.
In particular, the team accompanied by operatives from Police, military and paramilitary caught the violators unaware, confiscating 432 of the bikes.
Top officials of FCTA, and heads and representatives of various security agencies including paramilitary organizations domiciled in the FCT observed the crushing exercise, which took place inside an open space at Lugbe Car Wash, along the Airport road corridor.
Areas raided included Bill Clinton interchange, Karon-Majigi, Kuchingoro, Piwoyi Junction near Shoprite mall, Lugbe FHA, popular Lugbe Car wash, Police signboard along Airport Road, all in Abuja Municipal Area Council AMAC.
Reacting to the development, Chairman taxi operators, Car Wash Bus Stop in the area, Adebola Oluomo, said without the exercise, the road would be closed, as there were a lot of obstructions due to the activities of the defaulting Okada operators.
He said: “They are always on the expressway riding recklessly against the traffic, and nobody could control them, and if anyone talked, they would stab you with knife.
“The taskforce were always coming around, but the Okada operators would be stoning them, as they believed that they were the owners of Abuja. So, the government should continue with the exercise, so that Abuja will be very clean and the road will be safe for all.”
Explaining the exercise, Secretary, FCT Transportation Secretariat, Abdullahi Adamu Candido, reiterated that the government would not relent in its effort to rid the city of the menace.
Candido warned the operators and owners of commercial motorcycles to keep off major roads of Abuja, especially the city centres and the gateways into the FCT.
Similarly, Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Abdulateef Bello, said the exercise, which is the third in the series of its signature enforcement of the ban on okada operations in the city, is a proof of its zero tolerance of the menace.
According to him, their continued insistence to operate in the city is no longer a traffic offence, but a serious security breach that required the intervention of the government, hence the involvement of military and paramilitary agencies to effectively tackle it.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Attah Ikharo said the choice of the location for the signature exercise was in order to send a strong signal to the perpetrators that as long as they remain recalcitrant, the FCTA remain resolute to clamp down on them.
He said: “During the raid, we got okada totalling about 432 for today, and we are hoping that with the resolve of the DRTS, we will be seeing more impounded.
“The Airport road is the gateway into Abuja, and what people see is what they describe of Abuja. Seeing Okada men riding against traffic into the city, being so unruly and breaking the law at will paints Abuja in a very bad light. This is why the Minister of the FCT resolved that we must get them off the highways especially the Airport road and the Bill Clinton Drive.
“The Minister has resolved that throughout the yuletide, lawlessness will not be allowed in the city. So enforcement against illegalities will be non-stop throughout the yuletide”.