Residents of Lekki, an upmarket Lagos community, are backing Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to the hilt, in his latest drive to banish commercial motorbikes, popularly referred to as ‘Okada’ in local parlance, within the metropolis.
Last weekend, a Sound Engineer identified as David Imoh, was lynched and burnt to death by a mob of Okada riders in Lekki over N100.
On May 18, 2022, an angry Sanwo-Olu imposed yet another ban on the ubiquitous Okada.
Lagos state government and law enforcement personnel have since been seizing commercial motorcycles across the city and hauling them into trucks.
Okada riders have also been hitting back; there have been threats and clashes between law enforcement and Okada riders across Lagos as the latest ban kicks into gear.
“We support the government in the ban of Okada by Governor Sanwo-Olu and we are insisting that they enforce it as well. For a long time, they have been here and they have been causing problems.
“Remember that it was Governor (Babatunde) Fashola that first banned Okada; that should tell you how long they have been in our estate,” says Lekki Residents Association (LERA) Chairman, Yomi Odowu.
“If you ban something and you don’t enforce it, it cannot work. This time around, we will do our part as citizens to ensure that the ban is effected. Enough is Enough,” Idowu adds.
The Okada divides opinions across Nigeria: it helps to cut commute time and enables traffic-plagued city dwellers to arrive their destinations in record time. However, the two-wheeled wonder has also been blamed for a spate of accidents and crime in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest market.
Lagos Information Commissioner Gbenga Omotosho says; “The seizure of commercial motorcycles by the Lagos State Task Force will continue, despite the June 1 deadline issued by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for them to leave six Local Government Areas. The six local governments are: Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Apapa and Surulere.
“The deadline does not invalidate the provisions of the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018, which states that “no persons shall ride, drive or propel a motorcycle or tricycle on a major highway within the State, and any person in contravention of this provision commits an offence” and will be made to face the wrath of the law.
“The Lagos State Task Force, led by CSP Shola Jejeloye, has continued to enforce the law. It seized 238 motorcycles in Lekki on Tuesday and Wednesday. In Iba on Lagos-Badagry Expressway, where it was violently resisted today, the Task Force seized 195 motorcycles.
“The riders were operating on highways and bridges in flagrant disobedience of the law because, according to them, they are free to ply unauthorized routes till June 1. This is wrong. The February 1, 2020 directive has not been reversed. The enforcement was weakened by COVID-19, which affected all areas of life. Now, the action is being reinforced.”