Stakeholders from all walks of life in Lagos on Tuesday resolved that the state government should go ahead with the enforcement of a total ban on the operations of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada.
The resolution was reached the resolution at the Stakeholders’ Forum tagged “Okada Ban: What Next,” which had representatives from the religious, and the traditional fronts, – traditional and religious leaders; Community Development Associations across the 57 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the State; Civil Society Organisations, and Security heads, among other groups.
The stakeholders’ forum was convened by the Lagos State government to review the ban placed on commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, on June 1, 2022, in six local government areas – Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and Ikeja.
The forum was held to determine the status of the ban and establish the effectiveness of enforcement among other related issues.
At the forum, stakeholders lamented how the careless operations of the riders have led to losses of lives, injuries and irreparable damages.
They held that the consequences have slowed down socio-economic fortune as more young people are increasingly settling for the work against productively engaging in more honourable services, just as they lamented how the operations have constituted means of illegal migration and a facilitator of crimes.
Hence, they called for an overall ban of operations of Okada in the state, by extending the order to other LGAs and LCDAs.
The grounds on which the stakeholders stood to justify the overarching ban to all LGAs/LCDAs were premised on the arguments that such encompassing ban is profitable to ensure that the gains of the initial order covering only a few areas “are not reversed”, and also to further improve safety and security in Lagos.
The stakeholders resolved for stern actions against what they described “as pockets of riders still found operating on forbidden routes, especially highways”, demanding their arrest and prosecution.
To augment the enforcement, they submitted that the military and the police should sustain their partnership with the State Government to ensure that their officers stop flouting the ban in the specified LGAs and LCDAs.
Also, they demanded deployment of cutting-edge technology for improved security architecture, as well as engagement with traditional and religious leaders for intelligence gathering.
The resolutions as contained in the communique signed by the stakeholders read:
“At the end of deliberations, stakeholders agreed that:
“The enforcement of the ban on Okada should be sustained to ensure that the gains of the ban are not reversed. The pockets of riders still found operating on forbidden routes, especially highways, should be arrested and made to face the consequences of their actions.
“The Lagos State Government should enforce a total ban on Okada to further improve safety and security in Lagos.
“That any Okada rider found flouting the law and attacking Law Enforcement Officers/Agencies should be prosecuted and made to face the full wrath of the law.
The military and the police should sustain their partnership with the State Government to ensure that their officers stop flouting the ban in the specified Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas.
“That cutting-edge technology (streetlights,CCTV,drones) be deployed to traffic incidents and enhance security across the State.
“That community, traditional and religious leaders should be more involved intelligence gathering and security of their domain across the State.”
Reeling out statistics of records from the enforcement of the ban placed on the operations in six LGAs in June, the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Fredrick Oladeinde, disclosed that the anti-Okada operation in the last two months, revealed crime and accident rates in the areas concerned within the period, reduced “astronomically by 86percent and 63.7percent respectively.”, as a total of 7,500 motorcycles were impounded and crushed accordingly.”
He said, “On average monthly, we used to record about 300-400 crashes and that has gone own to about 176 in June and July and it continues to go down, and that shows that with the ban on Okada, we are beginning to save lives, especially of the young people who are maimed in the process.
“It is important that we preserve the lives of our youths because they are the leaders of tomorrow and it’s important that people feel secured in our State,” Oladeinde said.
In his submission, Environment Expert, Prof. Bamidele Badejo, said the Okada menace has destroyed economic and labour fabrics in the State, as more young people who should have been engaged in crafts and agro-businesses, among other productive endeavours, have settled for operating Okada.
He called for increased development on infrastructure on other transportation system such as rail and waterways; welfare, equipping and empowering security agencies to boost their morales; improvement on bad road corridors by “removing all contraventions and impediments illegally operating along the established right of ways.”
Speaking, the State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said the stakeholders’ meeting was significant to get feedback from Lagosians for inclusive government which the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led Administration stands to uphold.
He said beyond the dangers of accidents associated with Okada, the security threats and implications associated with it have placed demands on the State Government to take decisive actions.
“As you can see, Lagosians are calling for a total ban on Okada, not just because of all the dangers that Okada constitute, breaking of heads, smashing of limbs, and all manners of things that people have attached to Okada, but because of the security implications flying all around that the State Government must do something about it,” he said.
He mentioned that though people have leaned on the argument that Okada has been a source of livelihood to many, yet there were more opportunities for residents of the State to grab for ends meets.
According to him: “There are about 18 vocational centres where you can learn skills. When you learn skills in these centres, you are not just left to your own devising, you are given equipment to go and start a very good life, to go and start earning a living in a very decent manner. So, it is not a question that because people are going to loss their jobs Okadas should be allowed a free reign over Lagos.
“The figures and facts that were presented today (Tuesday) have shown that having Okada all over the place is not something that is good for Lagosians and Lagosians have spoken: Whether you are a traditional ruler or ordinary Lagosian, we all have one voice and we can see that majority of the people who spoke here today (Tuesday) supported the ban on Okada,” the Commissioner said.
He said the resolutions would be presented to the Governor for firm decision in the best interest of Lagosians, having satisfied the demands of democracy and transparency through critical engagement.