By Oziegbe Okoeki
The Lagos State Government on Thursday ordered full enforcement and clampdown on belligerent Okada riders, including tricycle operators who in the past few days have continued to defy traffic laws and engaged in attacking and injuring Task Force officials on duties.
In the last few days, Okada riders have taken laws into their hands taking over major roads and expressways in Lagos, driving against traffic and on BRT lane with impunity.
They have also attacked Task Force officials trying to regulate the law injuring some of them and destroying vehicles belonging to the Agency.
On Tuesday, a mob of Okada riders attacked Task Force officials in Mile 2, vandalising three vehicles and injuring one para-military officer.
The following day, Wednesday, another mob of Okada riders attacked and chased away Task Force officials in Ikeja along and damaged BRT buses.
The Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde while briefing the press on Thursday said the game is over for Okada riders.
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Oladeinde said in the last few months, the state had witnessed lawless activities of Okada riders as they violated the traffic law of the state and perpetrated crime.
Oladeinde directed all law enforcement agencies, including the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, Vehicles Inspection Services, VIS, the Nigeria Police, Lagos Task Force and others, to begin immediate enforcement of the law.
He also warned vehicle owners to desist from plying one-way and driving on BRT lane as anyone caught would face the wrath of the law, saying it was not going to be business as usual.
Oladeinde said a joint task force would be set up to aggressively enforce the road traffic law with immediate effect.
The commissioner said for the avoidance of doubt, Okada and tricycles remained banned in six Local Governments and nine Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs.
He said the LGs and LCDAs are: Apapa LG; Lagos Mainland LG; Surulere LG; Ikeja LG; Eti-Osa LG; Lagos Island LG; Onigbongbo LCDA; Ojodu LCDA; Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA; Iru-Victoria Island LCDA; Lagos Island East LCDA; Apapa Iganmu LCDA; Yaba LCDA; Itire-Ikate LCDA; and Coker-Aguda LCDA.
The commissioner said Okada riders are also banned from plying bridges, such as Dopemu Bridge, Iyana-Ipaja Bridge, Agege Bridge, Airport Road Bridge, Ojuelegba Bridge, Apapa-Iganmu Bridge, Liverpool Bridge, Mile 2 Bridge, Cele-Ijesha Bridge, among others.
According to Oladeinde, “restriction of Okada on certain routes in the State is still in force. Failure to comply with the law will attract sanctions as stipulated in the TSRL 2018, with penalties ranging from N20, 000 to three months imprisonment.
“Any motorist caught driving against Traffic will pay the maximum penalty, which is to have their vehicles impounded, and forfeited in line with TSRL 2018, while the drivers will be equally charged to the court of law.
“In line with this Administration’s plan to build Lagos that works for all, we are determined to continue to engage with the various Transport Unions and Associations of Tricycle and Okada operators to ensure their members cooperate with us in the process of ensuring public safety by abiding with the TSRL 2018 at all time,” he said.
He added “with the upsurge in the number of commercial motorcycle operators, we shall intensify our enforcement strategy. This we intend to carry out along with the various transport Union leaders. We will set up a joint enforcement team to ensure that our roads are sanitized from the menace of Okada riders,” Oladeinde said.