The total ban on okada across some local government areas in Lagos State is gradually paying off, and the multiplier gains may lead to a total ban of motorcycles in the state very soon.
A stakeholder’s meeting called by the Lagos State Government was told on Tuesday that almost three months after the commencement of the ban and its enforcement in six local governments and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state, crime and accident rates have reduced by 86 per cent and 63.7 per cent respectively in Lagos.
An outright ban on okada is now being suggested to the Government of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu by the stakeholders’ forum.
Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde to the forum with the theme: ‘Okada Ban: What Next’, that a total of 7,500 motorcycles were impounded and crushed since the enforcement of the ban on okada in June 2022.
“Lagosians may recall that on the 18th May 2022, Mr Governor made a pronouncement on the total ban of motorcycle operations in six local governments and the respective nine LCDAs under them including all major bridges and highways and the subsequent inauguration of the Lagos State Anti-Okada Squad saddled with the responsibility to aid the police and taskforce to implement and enforce total compliance with respect to the law.
“The Anti-Okada Squad was deployed to their respective locations and commenced operation effectively from 1 June 2022. The Anti- Okada squad work in partnership with relevant stakeholders, that is Police, Media, Unions and others whose contributions thus far cannot be over-emphasized.
“Today, we are delighted to report our position on the review of the Anti-Okada’s enforcement operation in the last 2 months plus. It is important to mention that the operation has recorded significant successes and compliance.
“In the affected areas within the period under review, available records show that crime and accident rate reduced astronomically by 86% and 63.7% respectively while a total of 7,500 motorcycles were impounded and crushed accordingly.
“It is no longer news that there is a rise in the level of insecurity as a result of the rampage of banditry and kidnapping across all states of the Federation. The Federal Government, therefore, is presently considering the total ban of motorcycle operations across the Federation as most of these underground activities are been enhanced with the use of motorcycles.
“Also, the attention of the State Government has been drawn to the security threat parading the news across all socio-media platforms that some unscrupulous individuals are planning to attack the State, and the Government is already working round the clock to secure the State and its residence from these non-State actors.
“Hence, the spotlight has been on Okada operations within the State as a result of their non-compliance to traffic rules and regulations as well as the fact that it is adjudged the only means of transportation that is used to easily and successfully perpetrate all sorts of crimes i.e robbery, kidnapping, supply of arms, attack and others due to its manoeuvring nature.
“Having taken into account, the successes made thus far as well as the identified challenges of the Anti Okada squad, the State Government have consequently put strategies in place by engaging all relevant stakeholders across all levels of Governance to put efforts together with the State Government in proffering a sustainable solution to the menace of Okada operations in our dear State.
“In view of all the above, this historic Stakeholders’ forum is expected to re-ignite the State Government commitment of tackling insecurity, crime, non-compliance to safety rules and traffic regulations as well as other underground activities perpetuated by non-State actors with the use of Okada.”
Speaking earlier, the Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso explained that at the initial stage of the ban, there was criticism based on sentiments from the people.
In the words of the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, “At the time Governor Sanwo-Olu announced the government’s decision, there were criticisms from various segments of the State. Those complaints were based largely on sentiments of those who had not witnessed the havoc some of the Okada riders caused in the areas of health and security.
“Residents were being robbed of their belongings by robbers who used motorcycles to flee scenes of crimes; our public hospitals were being filled with victims of Okada accidents (doctors had their hands full at Emergency wards), and hoodlums who rode unregistered motorbikes posed a great threat to the public.”
The Commissioner was quoted by Tribune online that “after seeing the results of the ban in the six local government areas, many Lagosians have been calling on the government to expand the ban; some say it should be Statewide, considering the present anxiety over security. “Mr Governor has mandated us to have this meeting to discuss what next.
“That is why we have invited representatives of our communities, law enforcement agencies, traditional and religious leaders, youth organisations and civil society groups to give their sincere opinions and recommendations on what many have described as the Okada menace.