*Plans total ban in Lekki-Victoria Island axis
By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
Lagos State Government on Monday said it has concluded plans to commence the crushing and recycling of over 4000 impounded commercial motorcycles popularly called Okada, in line with the provisions of the State Traffic Law 2012.
Disclosing this to journalists at the Olusosun refuse dump site in Ojota, the State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said the recent clampdown on Okada across the State was a fall out of the Government’s resolve to address the security concerns posed by their operations, saying that criminals are in the habit of using Okada to perpetrate crime and get away.
The Lagos Traffic Law 2012 prohibits the operations of Okada and Tricycles also known as Keke Marwa from operating in certain routes and areas across the State.
He said the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode had directed that the Police and other security agencies concerned redouble efforts to ensure the Law is complied with, assuring that the clampdown will be sustained vigorously on a daily basis.
He said: “It would not be one off. So far, we have impounded about 500 motorcycles since we started our renewed efforts and we now have a total of about 4, 000 bikes ready to be crushed. The law made provisions on how those motorcycles should be handled and the law also made provision on how to handle those that have flouted the law itself.”
According to Owoseni, the decision to crush and recycle the impounded motorcycles was in accordance with the provision of the Law
Owoseni said aside impounding the motorcycles and tricycles, the enforcement would also clampdown on the operators and residents who patronise them, adding that mobile courts would be instituted to try arrested offenders.
“The operators of the commercial motorcycles and those patronizing them, with time, you will get to see the Mobile Court going around to try some of those that have been arrested. What we are saying here is that we want people in Lagos to know that there is a law and the law is made for a purpose and if all of us obey the law and conform, the better for us.”
Besides, Owoseni said that due to the constant challenges of enforcing the law, the State Government was already considering an outright ban on okada operations in some areas of the State starting with the Lekki and Victoria Island axis.
He frowned at the flagrant way Okada and tricycle operators flout the Traffic Law especially by not obeying traffic light, saying that in most cases it leads to avoidable accident and death of innocent citizens.
“The Okada riders, no doubt, have been a sort of menace. They go into the road and flout the laws with impunity. When they get to where you have the traffic lights, they behave as if it is not meant for them and combine with that is the way the criminal elements put the motorcycles to either snatch money or use them as a getaway in some areas and the same law says that citizens should not patronize commercial motorcycles on prohibited routes.
“Not only that, the law says that by 8pm, they should not be on the road and so the message we are passing is that this is not going to be a one-off thing, we will continue and sustain it. We just like to appeal to people to stop patronizing Okada plying restricted routes,” Owoseni said.
Corroborating him, Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Olanrewaju Elegushi said the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode recently warned all commercial motorcycles to steer clear of restricted routes as the clampdown on defaulters would be total.
“We have an enforcement unit led by the Commissioner of Police, the Task Force on Environmental and Other Special Offences, the Divisional Police Officers and the Area Commanders. They have started enforcement and we came to see how far they have gone,” Elegushi said.