Stakeholders across the efforts in Lagos on Tuesday decided that the state government should move forward to impose a total ban on the operations of commercial motorcycles, commonly known as Okada, in the state.
Stakeholders reached the resolution during the stakeholder forum themed: “Okada Ban: What Next”, which included representatives from religious and traditional fronts, community development (CD) associations across the 57 areas of local government (LGA) and the local council. Development Zones (LCDA) in the State; civil society organizations (CSOs) and security officials, among others.
The forum was convened by the state government to review the ban imposed on commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada, on June 1, 2022, in six local government areas including Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland and Ikeja and nine LCDAs.
The forum was organized to determine the status of the ban and establish the effectiveness of enforcement among other related issues, with stakeholders and stakeholders also expected to establish the effects of the ban on road accidents, safety and compliance by Okada riders.
Stakeholders at the forum lamented how the operators’ negligent modus operandi had resulted in loss of life, injury and irreparable damage, and further lamented that the consequences had slowed socio-economic fortunes as more more and more young people were more and more satisfied with work against productive means. engage in more honorable service.
They further lamented how the operations had been a means of illegal migration and an enabler of crimes, and therefore called for a comprehensive ban on Okada’s operations in the state, extending the order to other LGAs and LCDAs.
In addition, they demanded the deployment of advanced technologies for improved security architecture, as well as engagement with traditional and religious leaders for intelligence gathering.
The resolutions contained in the press release signed by the stakeholders read as follows:
“As a result of the deliberations, stakeholders agreed that:
“Enforcement of the Okada ban must be maintained to ensure that the gains of the ban are not reversed. Pockets of bikers still found riding on banned roads, especially highways, should be stopped and brought to to face the consequences of their actions.
“Lagos State Government should impose 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 face the full wrath of the law.
The military and police should maintain their partnership with the state government to ensure that their officers stop flouting the ban in local governments and specified local council development areas.
“Let advanced technology (street lights, CCTV, drones) be deployed for traffic incidents and enhance safety across the state.
“That community, traditional and religious leaders should be more involved in intelligence gathering and securing their domain across the state.”
State Commissioner for Transport, Dr Fredrick Oladeinde, while shaking the records statistics of the enforcement of the ban imposed on operations in six LGAs in June, revealed that the anti-Okada operation over the two recent months had revealed crime and accident rates in the affected areas during the period, decreased “astronomically by 86% and 63.7% respectively”, although he noted that a total of 7,500 motorcycles were seized and crushed as a result.
“On average per month we used to have about 300 to 400 crashes and that went down to about 176 in June and July and it’s still going down, and it shows that with the Okada ban we let’s start saving lives, especially young people who are maimed in the process.
“It is important that we preserve the lives of our young people because they are the leaders of tomorrow and it is important that people feel safe in our state,” Oladeinde said.
Environmental expert Prof. Bamidele Badejo, who spoke at the event, said Okada’s threat had destroyed the economic and labor fabrics in the state as, he said, more young people who should have been engaged in handicrafts and agro-industry, among other productive endeavours, were content to exploit Okada.
He called for increased infrastructure development on other transport systems such as rail and waterways; the welfare, equipment and empowerment of security agencies to boost their morale; improvement of road corridors in poor condition by “removing all tickets and obstructions operating illegally along established rights-of-way”.
In his own remark, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, said the stakeholders meeting was important to get feedback from the people of Lagos in favor of an inclusive government that the administration led by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu pledges to defend.
He said that beyond the dangers of accidents associated with Okada, the security threats and implications associated with it have compelled the state government to take decisive action.
“As you can see, Lagosians are calling for a total ban on Okada, not only because of all the dangers that Okada poses, breaking his head, breaking his limbs and all kinds of things that the people have attached to Okada, but because of the safety implications flying everywhere, the state government needs to do something about it,” he said.
The commissioner mentioned that although people relied on the argument that Okada had been a source of income for many, there were more opportunities for residents of the state to seize to make ends meet.
“There are about 18 vocational training centers where you can learn skills. When you acquire skills in these centres, you are not left on your own, you are given material to start a very good life, to start earning a living in a very decent way. So, it is not a matter that because people are going to lose their jobs, the Okadas should be allowed to rule Lagos freely.
“The figures and facts that were presented today (Tuesday) showed that having Okada everywhere is not something good for Lagosians and Lagosians have spoken: whether you are a traditional leader or an ordinary Lagosian , we all have a voice and we can see that the majority of people who spoke here today (Tuesday) supported banning Okada,” Omotoso said.
He assured that the resolutions would be presented to Governor Sanwo-Olu for firm decisions in the best interests of Lagosians, having met the demands of democracy and transparency through critical engagement.
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