March 6, 2024

[Photos] Insecurity: FCTA clamps down on ‘Okada’ riders

[Photos] Insecurity: FCTA clamps down on ‘Okada’ riders

By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA on Wednesday continued with its onslaught against the excesses of commercial motorcycle operators, popularly called ‘Okada riders’, who had continued to ply unapproved routes.

According to the administration, most of the riders have been reported as contributing to the wave of insecurity in some parts of the territory.

Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Dr Abdulateef Bello, who led the operation, emphasised the zero-tolerance stance towards the menace of commercial motorcyclists during an enforcement exercise in Kabusa, Abuja.

Represented by the Head of Operations, Deborah Osho, Bello revealed that the continued operation of Okada riders in the city had evolved from a traffic offence to a serious security breach, necessitating government’s intervention.

“The menace of commercial motorcyclists is becoming so alarming. Residents’ hearts are always in their mouths whenever they close from work at about 6 p.m. These Okada riders take the laws into their own hands to unleash havoc on residents by stabbing them and robbing them of their valuables,” Bello states.

He highlighted the reckless riding practices of Okada riders, who often drive against traffic, contributing to accidents on the road.

According to him, the DRTS, in collaboration with other agencies, is intensifying efforts to curtail their excesses and ensure the safety of residents, particularly in areas like Kabusa known for bag snatching and other criminal activities.

“We just made some arrests now, and we are going to crush some of them. One of the arrested Okada men had a pen knife on him; this is what they use to do their ungodly acts at night, leaving some residents either dead or alive with various degrees of injuries,” Bello added.

Residents using motorcycles for businesses were urged to adhere to the ban on Okada within the city centre and operate only in approved areas in satellite towns. 

Dr. Peter Olumuji, the Secretary, Command and Control, FCTA, emphasised that the operation is part of the broader efforts to curb insecurity within the FCT.

He revealed that recent arrests of kidnapping suspects highlighted the use of commercial motorcycles as a quick mode of escape, emphasising the importance of enforcing the ban to enhance the security and safety of FCT residents. 

The clampdown has targeted areas such as Kubwa, Airport Road, Apo, and Lokogoma, where criminal activities involving Okada riders have been reported.