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25.10.2021 news ‘Task Force Is Aiding Non-Compliance’ — Lagos Residents Lament Failure to Enforce ‘Okada’ Ban

Published 25th Oct, 2021

By Daniel Ojukwu

Residents of Lagos State have lamented the state government’s failure to enforce a ban it placed on commercial motorcycles and tricycles, also known as okada and keke, on major highways and bridges.

On Monday, Dr. Guendouzi, a Twitter user, faulted the government for “physically” surrendering itself to “the okada menace,” saying they (riders) now operate everywhere, violating traffic laws and going unpunished.

He also alleged that illegal migrants had begun to enter the state to take up the profession.

“Lagos state has physically surrendered itself to the okada menace. They are everywhere obstructing junctions with their parks, driving against traffic on the expressway and crossing the highway indiscriminately. Most of them aren’t Nigerians, undocumented influx of aliens,” he said in a tweet.

READ ALSO: SPECIAL REPORT: The State of Security in Lagos 365 Days After Post-#EndSARS Carnage

Reacting, Gbolahan, another Twitter user, blamed the local governments for encouraging the violation by issuing cards to riders, giving them access to banned routes.

He said, “The local government are the ones allowing them in Lagos. I discovered most of these guys have riders card issued to them by the local government. And they have touts always stopping them to ask for this card and one useless sticker on the road.”

For Ser Udofia, leaving home in Lagos has become scary as commercial cyclists ride “recklessly and lawlessly, infringing on others.”

According to him, a one-way rider knocked down a friend of his, almost severing her leg.

READ ALSO: SPECIAL REPORT: Cocoa and Timber, the Ife-Modakeke Crisis Nobody Wants to Talk About

He tweeted, “Depressing and scary leaving home in Lagos. Okada and keke riders everywhere, recklessly and lawlessly infringing on others. Phew! Over the weekend, an innocent close person was knocked down and severely injured by a one-way okada (motorcycle) rider; her leg almost severed. Lagos government, help.”

While users condemned the state government for what they perceived as its failings, the task force charged with the regulation of commercial motorcycles was accused of aiding violation.

Olajide Akebaje accused the task force of conniving with street urchins to pervert justice.

READ ALSO: Akwa Ibom Police Arrest Barber, Bike Rider, Label Them IPOB Members

Akebaje said, “The main issue is that the task force mandated to enforce compliance on some major roads are also aiding non-compliance. I once watched those stationed at Brown Junction, along Agege Motor Road, by Oshodi, how they engaged urchins to collect ****backs (sic) from cyclists plying the BRT lane.”

On January 27, 2020, the Lagos State Government announced a ban on the operations of commercial cyclists on 50 highways and bridges in 15 local government areas. The ban took effect on February 1, 2020.

While making the announcement, Gbenga Omotoso, Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said the measures were taken by the government in response to “scary figures” of fatal accidents recorded from commercial cycling in the state between 2016 and 2019.

He said, “After a robust assessment of the debate on what has been widely referred to as the motorcycle and tricycle menace, the Lagos State Government and the State Security Council have decided that the security and safety of lives of Lagosians are paramount.

“The figures are scary. From 2016 to 2019, there were over 10,000 accidents recorded at the general hospitals alone. This number excludes unreported cases and those recorded by other hospitals. The total number of deaths from reported cases is over 600 as at date [sic].

“Also, the rate of crimes aided by okada and keke keeps rising. They are also used as getaway means by criminals. Therefore, after consultations with stakeholders, the State Security Council, in compliance with the extant Transport Sector Reform Law 2018, has decided to commence enforcement of the law which bans the operation of okada and keke in six local government areas and nine local council development areas (LCDAs).”

Published 25th Oct, 2021

By Daniel Ojukwu

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