The Lagos State Task force crushed about 2,000 impounded commercial motorcycles popularly called Okada on Friday. The motorcycles were seized after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu banned their operations in six local government areas of the state.
This was just as the state government disclosed that compliance with the okada ban had reached about 85 per cent since enforcement began on June 1.
Commissioner for Information Gbenga Omotoso, who spoke during the crushing of seized okada at the Taskforce Yard in Alausa, Ikeja, said about 2,000 okadas are billed to be crushed.
The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso and Chairman, Lagos State Task Force, Shola Jejeloye made this known in separate interviews, during the crushing of seized commercial motorcycles popularly called okadas.
Omotoso, while speaking with newsmen, lamented the danger inherent in riding okada and adopting it as a mode of transportation, saying a total of 1,712 accidents occurred in the first four months of the year, with 767 caused by okada resulting in death.
According to Omotoso, 45 per cent of these riders are youths between the ages of 30 and 39 years, further disclosed that about 5,000 okadas were crushed in the first quarter of the year, adding: “So, taking okada off the roads is helping our young ones to stay alive.”
The commissioner, therefore, urged the okada riders to embrace the many alternative modes of transportation provided by the government, saying that there were plans to inject more First and Last Mile buses into the metropolis.
“In the first four months of this year, we had 1,712 accidents, 767 caused by okada, resulting into death, 45 per cent of these riders are youths between ages 30 and 39 years. So, taking okada off the roads is helping our young ones to stay alive. There are very fantastic people who are into entertainment, and technology, and no responsible government will watch their blood spilt.
“So, taking okada off our roads is not hurting our people. We are not leaving them to their own devices and so we have said anyone who is interested in doing a decent business can form a cooperative and join the First and Last Mile Bus Scheme. Some of them have come up to do that actually because they know okada is not in the transportation plan of Lagos State.
“They can present their proposals to the State Employment Trust Fund and get money to fund their businesses. We have vocational centres where they can learn a trade and start a new life. So anyone saying okada is the only way to earn a living in Lagos is not doing any good,” Omotoso stated.
The State Commissioner for Transportation, Frederic Oladeinde, in his own submission, noted that tricycles popularly called Marwa were also not part of the state’s strategic transport master plan, but assured the people that taking them totally off Lagos roads would be after the government had put in place necessary replacements.
“Tricycle is also not part of the strategic transport master plan, but we understand the gap we have in our system. So, over time, as we develop our rail system, BRT and increase the number of boats on our waters, I think the tricycles would disappear. But they would, however, be incorporated into the new systems through cooperatives. That is why there’s a systemic approach to ensuring that while we get rid of one mode, we absorb them into another.
“My message to Lagosians is that they should be calm, obey traffic laws and patronise the alternatives provided to okada. We are putting more high capacity buses on the road, and the government is working to make sure our rail system works fine,” he said.
Task Force Chairman, Jejeloye described the enforcement as good, noting that the enforcement didn’t just come into play on June 1, 2022, but in February, adding: “But people believe in violating the law, which is not good enough in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos.”
“The enforcement didn’t just come into play on June 1, it came first in February and we have been on it since then. But people believe in violating the law, which is not good enough in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos.
“Since we began enforcement on June 1, there have been more than 85 per cent compliance because the number of okadas on the road has reduced greatly.
“However, I will urge the riders to continue to stay off because the enforcement will continue still. They might believe we will relax after the first week, but I am telling them now that there will be more intense enforcement starting next week. We will visit those areas we could not visit last week,” he said.
“There is no going back because it’s government policy and the government does not make a mockery of its decisions,” he added.