Lagos State Government declares 'total war' on commercial motorcyclists [okada]

The Lagos State Government has declared total war on commercial motorcycle riders also known as okada riders plying the 475 prohibited routes in the Lagos metropolis.

It said police enforcement of the ban was just a tip of the iceberg of what would befall the riders still flouting government’s order that they avoid the prohibited routes.

Speaking at the 2012 Annual Council of Prophets Convention of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church, Surulere District, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, to sensitise members of the church on the new road traffic law, Fashola said police action was just to test-run how the raid on okada riders would be.

The governor added that by the time officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Kick Against Indiscipline, KAI and other security agencies joined in the enforcement, there would be no hiding place for okada riders.

Fashola, who was represented by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, said total enforcement would soon begin, saying what was currently ongoing by the police was not full enforcement.

He stated that the thinking of the government was that by the end of this month, no okada rider should be seen on any of the prohibited routes, saying that government was more determined to enforce the ban.

According to Fashola, there were lots of jobs to do for okada riders that might lose their businesses, saying that many of them abandoned their vocational skills to make quick money through okada riding.

The governor told the gathering that the law was not meant to punish people but to sanitise and regulate the transportation system and by making people comply.

Fashola said the new law gave power to LASTMA to arrest anyone who flouted it as well as impose stipulated fines on erring members of the public.

He stated that the law recommend outright dismissal for LASTMA officials found to be corrupt in the course of performing their duties, as no one would be spared.

“Our plan is not to send people to jail but to make people comply,” he said, adding that beginning from January, commuter buses would only be allowed to ply the route routes they were registered to ply.

He vowed that any commercial bus caught plying routes they were not registered to ply would be impounded and the driver arrested and prosecuted.