The Lagos State government had announced a ban on the operations of commercial motorcyclists called Okada in four additional LGAs and six LCDAs of the state.

According to the government, the implementation of the extension took effect from September 1, 2022. The LGAs affected by the fresh ban are Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu and Mushin while the LCDAs are Ikosi-Isheri, Agboyi-Ketu, Isolo, Bariga, Odi-Olowo and Ejigbo.

The Sanwo-Olu led administration had earlier banned okada operation in six LGAs and nine LCDAs effective from June 1, 2022, due to frequent accidents relating to this mode of transportation and crime related issues. With

this extension, the number of local councils where Okada activities are proscribed are now 25. 

This new law is already taking its toll on the residents of the newly affected areas, as they  foresee a heightened crime rate and untold hardship among the former riders.

The residents and the motorcyclists, who spoke in separate interviews expressed fear that if the Okada ban was not properly implemented, it would create more insecurity in the city.

Wasiu Azeez is a resident of Alapere, Ketu. He expressed  that many of the operators will be rendered jobless and may be recruited by terrorists and bandits to unleash mayhem.

Meanwhile, Ajiroba Ahmed, a biker,  decried the already high rate of unemployment among the youths, adding that the ban would increase the number of the  unemployed in the labour market.

Reacting to the state government’s assertion that many operators are criminals, he explained that “Our union will fish out the bad eggs among us. We plead with our leaders to revert the ban. We are already having security challenges in the country; the government should not increase it by banning okada. I don’t have any other means of  taking care of my family anymore”

According to a petty trader, Ajoke Adigun ” The ban of Okada on the highway is a welcome development, but it should be allowed to ply inner roads so that the operators can earn a living with their families, else they become jobless and engage in heinous acts.”

For Harrison Ayodele, an engineer, aside from making transportation difficult for the poor, the decision would increase the rate of crimes in some communities.

“All I can say is that the masses will suffer a great deal and crime rate may increase. I call on our governor to critically look into the matter” he said.

However, speaking at a press conference on August 18, 2022, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederick Oladehinde, disclosed that a total of 7,500 motorcycles had been impounded and crushed in the ongoing enforcement, saying that resistance had dropped sharply, even as he warned riders who might want to flout the proscription order to desist from it.

He affirmed that the state government had interventions in place to empower the affected okada riders as an alternative means of livelihood, urging them to embrace the intervention programmes which were being coordinated by six government ministries and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).

Akinyemi Seun

(c) Globe telly

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