The Lagos State Government has clarified that the state Task Force would right away seize commercial motorcycles (okada) where they have been outlawed.
In a statement on Thursday evening, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso reminded the motorcycle operators and other stakeholders that the new deadline of 1st June did not invalidate the provisions of the state’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018.
Among other provisions, that law provides: “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 would face the wrath of the law.
In January 2020, the state government had restricted okada activities in six Local Government Areas – Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Apapa and Surulere; and the Local Council Development Areas within their jurisdictions with effect from 1st February of that year.
“The seizure of commercial motorcycles by the Lagos State Task Force will continue, despite the 1st June 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”, Omotoso emphasised.
He further said: “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 unauthorised routes till 1st June. This is wrong. The 1st February 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”.
He said that the state government commend Lagosians who have supported the ban on commercial motorcycles, “which Governor Sanwo-Olu has described as the ‘first phase’ of the action triggered by safety and security concerns”.
The renewed ban followed recent public outcry and condemnation of the alleged murder of a sound engineer, simply identified as David, by okada riders in Lekki, Lagos last weekend.
The renewed clamour for the ban on okada trailed last weekend’s killing of a sound engineer, Mr David Imoh allegedly by okada riders in Lekki, Lagos.
He was allegedly beaten and set ablaze by suspected motorcyclists in the Admiralty Road of the choice area.
Two other people, Francis Olatimji and Phillip Balogun, were hospitalised in the incident.