PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL: May 22nd, 2022
As sweet as a melodious music is to the ears, so is the recent news on planned total ban on commercial motorcycles (Okada), to the ears of Lagosians who have long groaned under the menace of Okada riders’ operations. In fact, the plan is one of the most cheery news we have heard in recent times.
Ever since these Okada riders stormed the city of Lagos, the state has continued to experience a spike in the rate of preventable fatal accidents in addition to gridlocks on the roads. In a May 28, 2020 Vanguard Newspaper report, Lagos State Government disclosed that it recorded 600 deaths in 10,000 accidents involving commercial motorcycles between 2015 and February 1, 2020. The Lagos State commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederick Oladeinde who gave the statistics, said “It is worrisome to note that between 2015 to the commencement of restrictions of their movements, 600 deaths were recorded in Okada/tricycle-related accidents.
Sanwo-Olu Okada ban: 16 points you should know
1. Progress achieved in commercial motorcycles (Okada) restriction under the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola was reversed between 2015 and 2019. The menace festered to an alarming level, just before the inception of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration in 2019.
2. On February 1, 2020, Sanwo-Olu-led Government announced a ban on Okada in six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
3. On February 27, 2020, Lagos State recorded the first case of Covid-19, which preceded an extensive nationwide lockdown. The attendant economic paralysis created a survival struggle for many low-income earners in Lagos.
4. Between February and September 2020, the slow economic recovery within this period affected many residents, leading the Government to assist struggling families with palliatives. The Okada ban was still in force, but the enforcement was weakened by the plight of struggling residents.
5. On October 2020, the crises that resulted from the nationwide EndSARS protest, which was more pronounced in Lagos, emboldened Okada riders to return in droves to roads, highways and bridges where they had been banned.
6. The police, which led the enforcement against Okada, withdrew from the roads for weeks. The situation led to the influx of commercial motorcycle riders from different parts of the country.
7. On May 18, 2021, Lagos Government launched the First and Last Mile Buses as safe alternatives on routes where Okada had been restricted.
8. From January 2021 to March 2022, there was some enforcement, which resulted in fatalities.
9. On September 24, 2021, a group of Okada riders killed a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Kazeem Abonde, in Ajao Estate during a violent encounter between the police and some riders.
10. Similar violent clashes are usually recorded during enforcement in notorious areas where Okada riders operate on restricted routes.
11. Before the new pronouncement, Okada menace had assumed a disturbing level in Lagos, with residents asking the Government to ban this mode of transportation for safety and security reasons.
12. The riders have become lawless. They disrespect traffic laws and regulations.
13. They get violent at the slightest provocation, inciting mob actions and jungle justice in which many innocent people have died.
- On May 18, 2022, Governor Sanwo-Olu affirmed that Okada remained banned in Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa. The ban also extends to all LCDAs under the listed councils as well as all major roads, highways and bridges.
- From June 1, 2022, there will be a sweeping enforcement of the Okada ban in all the listed councils and LCDAs.