Okada riders slam Lagos over 3,000 crushed cycles
enforcement of the Lagos Road Traffic Law,
about 3000 motorcycles, otherwise called
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Okada,Ã¢â‚¬Â impounded for various traffic
offences by the state taskforce on
Environmental and Other Special Offences
were crushed last week.
Governor Babatunde Fashola , had on
August 2, 2012, signed into law the Lagos
Road Traffic Law. The state House of
Assembly had on July 12, 2012, passed the
bill into law for the governorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s assent.
Men of the state task-force had stormed
major highways, particularly Ikeja and
environs where the operation of Okada
riders has been restricted under the new
law, impounded okadas found to have
violated the restriction order.
The motorcycles were impounded within
the period of August to September, in the
ongoing aggressive enforcement to ensure
that okada riders comply with the dictates
of the road traffic law.
Consequently, aggrieved okada riders who
spoke with Vanguard, described the
destruction of bikes by the state
government as anti-masses and a way to
systematically wipe them out of Lagos
through the destruction of their legal means
According to Musa, an okada rider, under
the umbrella of concerned riders, the
crushing of the motorcycles, is a form of
witch-hunting by the state government to
force them out of business.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is unfair on the part of the government
to go after us, we are not robbers, we
work for our daily living. At least they can
sell the bikes through public auction if truly
they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want us out of business.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Speaking on the destroyed bikes, Chairman
of the Task Force, Superintendent of Police,
SUPOL, Bayo Sulaimon, who supervised
the crushing at the task force yard in
Alausa, listed some of the offences to
include riding on kerbs, driving against
traffic and unauthorized places, operating at
late hours, urging operators to either
comply with the law or face its wrath.
Sulaimon said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is to n inform the
operators that the law has started and there
is no going back. The law has been passed,
signed and gazetted and we are going to
crush all the crush-ables at our plant in
Oshodi to show our seriousness about
enforcing the law.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The ones that cannot be crushed will be
auctioned, but not in the state, so that they
donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t constitute a nuisance again,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
He added that the taskforce has
commenced gradual enforcement of the
law, Ã¢â‚¬Å“we have not even enforced it fully.
But this should serve as a warning to them
because we wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hesitate to impound any
okada that contravenes any aspect of the
According to him, the operators were not
arrested for prosecution as most of the
offenders abandoned their motorcycles on
sighting law enforcers and ranaway.
Commenting on the protest staged by
concerned motorcycle riders to the Office
of the Governor recently, Sulaimon said,
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They have the right to protest, but the
government will be firm in what they do. It
doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t in any way stop our job, those
who intend not to obey the law, we are
coming after them. They will be arrested
one after the other and we will be out there
on a daily basisÃ¢â‚¬Â.
He reminded that the Road Traffic Law did
not ban the operation of commercial
motorcycles but only restricted them on
highways, bridges and some selected 475
Sulaimon also said tricycles, also known as
Keke Marwa are restricted from operating in
certain areas, warning operators to comply
or risk their vehicles being impounded.
All Nigerian Autobike Commercial Owners
and Workers Association, ANACOWA,
Chairman, Mr. Ade Ikuesan, had in a
statement co-signed with his secretary, Mr.
Mordi Elvis, expressed misgivings at what
he described as the blanket ban on okada
operations in Ikeja and its environs but
stated his desire for dialogue.
MOALS chairman, Mr. Tijani Perkins,
however, expressed support for the policy
of the state government, explaining that it
was meant to properly regulate okada
operations in the state.
According to Perkins, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are not
interested in protests, which some minute
associations are planning. We are not
interested in the court actions. If our
members operate on the route the state
government asks them to operate, there
will not be any issue.Ã¢â‚¬Â
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