The Lagos State Government has reaffirmed its decision to put an end to okada operations as a means of commuting, just as it gave an assurance that the decision was taken to ensure the safety of lives and property of residents.
Enforcement of the ban in four additional local governments – Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Shomolu and Mushin Local Government – commences on September 1, 2022. The affected LCDAs are Ikosi-Isheri, Agboyi-Ketu, Isolo, Ejigbo, Bariga and Odi-Olowo.
Speaking at a press briefing held in Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, reaffirmed that the State Government has made available alternatives that will cushion the effects of the ban on passengers and commercial motorcyclists.
Oladeinde said: “As a responsive government, we are not leaving the affected passengers who patronise these okadas stranded without any viable means of transportation”.
He also encouraged the riders to take advantage of the various empowerment programmes offered by government agencies such as the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA); Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment; Office of Civic Engagement; Office of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) and the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Commissioner explained that the agencies provide internships, vocational skills training, loans for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Agricultural youth empowerment programmes.
Emphasising that the First and Last Mile Bus Transport Scheme, the BRT Scheme, the Lagos e-hailing taxi Scheme (LAGRIDE) and other sustainable modes of transportation were created to enhance easy transportation, Oladeinde maintained that the enforcement of the ban would be consolidated and there will be no compromise.
Imploring members of the public to comply with the law, Oladeinde said that both the riders and passengers are liable to three years imprisonment if convicted, Oladeinde stated that motorcycles impounded will be crushed.
His words: “We implore the general public to comply as both the riders and passengers are both liable to three years imprisonment if caught, and that bike will be confiscated and crushed in public”.
Responding to a question on the possibility of an option of fine for convicted riders and passengers, Oladeinde said the decision would be at the discretion of the court of law.
Earlier in his remarks, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, revealed that some okada riders are already forming Cooperatives to access the First and Last Ride buses that the State has made available as alternatives. He urged the riders to move away from the fixed mindset of seeing okada as the only means of livelihood.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr. Sola Giwa, revealed that the Committee on Okada ban had met with the union of motorcycle riders, asking for a list of all the riders in the affected areas, so that they can access the alternative provisions put in place.
He stated that accidents and crime rates perpetrated by Okada are beginning to drop with the ban in place.
On a separate issue raised on traffic disruptions due to road construction, Giwa admonished residents to exercise patience on construction corridors and warned commercial drivers to desist from driving on kerbs and against traffic. He said Lagos State Traffic Management Authority personnel have been deployed to ensure the free flow of traffic, especially in areas where constructions are ongoing.
Affirming the readiness of the Police to enforce the ban, the representative of the Lagos Commissioner of Police, CSP Elizabeth Opadunni, assured Lagosians of the preparedness of the force to enforce the ban.
Delivering his closing remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Kamar Olowoshago expressed appreciation to the Governor for providing the required support to make the ban effective, adding that the Governor is passionate about whatever will bring succour to Lagos residents.