The Governor Babatunde Sanwo-Olu-led administration of Lagos state is keen on the safety and security of Lagos and is poised to legislate and enforce laws that will ensure the same in all the local government areas, hence the ban on Okada.
Since the inception of his government, Sanwo-Olu has made decisive efforts to keep Okada as a means of road transportation in check or ban it due to the hazard and even crimes linked to it.
According to Joe Igbokwe, progress has been "achieved in commercial motorcycles (Okada) restriction under the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola was reversed between 2015 and 2019."
The governor's aide added in a Facebook post on Friday, May 20:
"The menace festered to an alarming level, just before the inception of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration in 2019."
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Below are some key facts on how far the forthright Lagos governor has come on the issue and what he plans to do to keep the state free from all the menace associated with Okada:
- On February 1, 2020, the Sanwo-Olu-led Government announced a ban on Okada in six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).
- On February 27, 2020, Lagos State recorded the first case of Covid-19, which preceded an extensive nationwide lockdown. The attendant economic paralysis created a survival struggle for many low-income earners in Lagos.
- Between February and September 2020, the slow economic recovery within this period affected many residents, leading the Government to assist struggling families with palliatives. The Okada ban was still in force, but the enforcement was weakened by the plight of struggling residents.
- On October 2020, the crises that resulted from the nationwide EndSARS protest, which was more pronounced in Lagos, emboldened Okada riders to return in droves to roads, highways and bridges where they had been banned.
- The police, which led the enforcement against Okada, withdrew from the roads for weeks. The situation led to the influx of commercial motorcycle riders from different parts of the country.
- On May 18, 2021, Lagos Government launched the First and Last Mile Buses as safe alternatives on routes where Okada had been restricted.
- From January 2021 to March 2022, there was some enforcement, which resulted in fatalities.
- On September 24, 2021, a group of Okada riders killed a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Kazeem Abonde, in Ajao Estate during a violent encounter between the police and some riders.
- Similar violent clashes are usually recorded during enforcement in notorious areas where Okada riders operate on restricted routes.
- Before the new pronouncement, Okada menace had assumed a disturbing level in Lagos, with residents asking the Government to ban this mode of transportation for safety and security reasons.
- The riders have become lawless. They disrespect traffic laws and regulations.
- They get violent at the slightest provocation, inciting mob actions and jungle justice in which many innocent people have died.
- On May 18, 2022, Governor Sanwo-Olu affirmed that Okada remained banned in Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa. The ban also extends to all LCDAs under the listed councils as well as all major roads, highways, and bridges.
- From June 1, 2022, there will be a sweeping enforcement of the Okada ban in all the listed councils and LCDAs.
Pandemonium in Lagos as Okada riders, police clash
Meanwhile, reports revealed that there was a growing protest in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos on Thursday, May 19 over the ban imposed on motorcycle (Okada) operators in the state.
It was gathered that police operatives from Onireke Police Station had already commenced the enforcement of the order in the area by impounding several motorbikes.
Legit.ng learnt that the operation by the police triggered some of the commercial motorcyclists to resist the police in performing their duty along the Mile 2 – Badagry expressway.