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Lagos Government Bans Okada Operators

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR, MR BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA (INSET) ADDRESSING COMMERCIAL MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS IN LAGOS DURING A STAKEHOLDERS' FORUM IN AGIDINGBI, IKEJA, LAGOS, TODAY, AUGUST 24, 2010.
PHOTO: LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR, MR BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA (INSET) ADDRESSING COMMERCIAL MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS IN LAGOS DURING A STAKEHOLDERS' FORUM IN AGIDINGBI, IKEJA, LAGOS, TODAY, AUGUST 24, 2010.


LAGOS, August 24, (THEWILL) – Sanity is set to return to Lagos roads as operators of commercial motorcycle (popularly known as okada) in Lagos State have been banned in many parts of the state.

Lagos State Government today announced the outright ban of okada operations on all Lagos bridges, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, CMS area and some parts of the metropolis, urging riders to comply with the law or face the penalties with effect from tomorrow, August 25, 2010.

This was contained in a booklet distributed at a stakeholder’s forum on okada operations in Lagos Television premises where Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) urged the operators to comply with the new order.

As indicated in the booklet, the state government also prohibits okada operations in and around the entire Lagos Central Business District Area, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Bourdillon Road, Gerrad Avenue, Alexander Road, Osborne Road, Alfred Rewane Road and CMS outer Marina.

The prohibited routes for okada operations in the state also include Funsho Williams Avenue, Eko Bridge, Apongbon, Oshodi-Apapa, Murtala Muhammed Way from Jibowu to Yaba, Oyingbo, Iddo and Idumota.

It further named Ikorodu Expressway, which begins from Jibowu to Ikorodu Roundabout, Third Mainland Bridge, which begins from tollgate; Badagry Expressway; Apapa Oshodi Expressway, the entire stretch of Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, Awolowo Way and Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way.

The state government also prohibited okada riders from operating on Lagos Abeokuta Expressway, Agege Motor Road, which stretches from Moshalashi in Mushin to boundary of Ogun State in Ota, including all Lagos Bridges.

But in response, the operators protested, saying the number of routes prohibited were too many and alleging that the decision was a strategy by the government to totally stop them from operating in the metropolis.

Speaking at the forum, Chairman of the Lagos State Motorcycle Operators Association, Mr. Tijani Pekins said the operators would obey the new regulations, but urged the state government to rescind its decision on some prohibited routes.

According to him, "while supporting the initiative, we appeal to the government to allow our members to ply all service lanes on expressways such as Western Avenue, Ikorodu Road to mile 12, Badagry Road and Apapa-Oshodi Expressway."

In reaction, Fashola said the order became necessary to reduce the rate of death caused by okada in the state. He added that many innocent commuters, including okada riders had lost their limbs due to the recklessness of the operators.