The Lagos State Government on Thursday declared that it would begin a total crackdown on commercial motorcyclists – popularly known as okada riders – from plying the restricted 475 roads across the state.
According to the state government, the honeymoon for okada drivers was over, its time to wield the big stick.
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In a meeting held yesterday in Ikeja, which had the state government and the police in attendance, the Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, warned that government would no longer tolerate okada riders on restricted roads, highways and bridges.
He said: “We will not condone okada riding against traffic, especially those who ply their trade along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and Ojota-Ikorodu Town and who use BRT restricted/reserve lane. All these are not in sync with the law. There is a need for us to, at this time, restate the provisions of the law so as to understand the premise of our planned actions in this regard.”
“In line with this administration’s plan to build a Lagos that works for all, we are determined to engage with unions/associations of tricycle operators and okada operators to ensure their members engage with us in the process of ensuring public safety.
“Our present concern is also borne of the need to prevent accidents resulting from okada which is on the increase currently. By implication, there are increased (death) cases of causalities or maiming resulting therefrom; there is a surge in driving against traffic by okada. We are also witnessing a huge increase in motorcycle-related crime.”
The Guardian quoted the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde as saying that out of the 9,000 roads in Lagos, okada riders were only restricted from plying 475 roads, while they could ply the rest.
A representative of the state Commissioner of Police, ACP Imohim Edgal, said policemen in all area commands in the state have been directed to enforce aggressively the restriction placed on okada riders from plying the restricted routes.