Despite ban, okada riders return to Lagos roads
Despite the daily clampdown on their operations by law enforcement agencies, commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders have continued to defy Lagos State government’s ban on their operations in some parts of the metropolis.
The state had on Tuesday, January 27, 2020, announced a ban on motorcycle operations in six local councils, which became effective from February 1, 2020, due to security challenges and their unruly behaviours on the road.
The Guardian observed that okada riders have taken over major roads, including Oshodi-Abeokuta and Oshodi-Apapa expressways.
The heavy traffic situation along Egbeda, Iyana-Ipaja, Mile 2, Ijesha, Awolowo road and Ikeja areas provided opportunity for the riders to make quick money as they convey commuters to their destinations.
Jakande Gate along Isolo-Ikotun road was not spared as the okada riders have taken over the axis, disrupting free flow of traffic in the area.
Some of the riders, who spoke to The Guardian, said they were compelled to defy the ban due to the prevailing economic challenges.
The operators said they could not just sit and allow hunger kill their families.
One of the operators, Isah Mohammed, said: “We have families and children to look after. With the high rate of unemployment in the country, most of us rely on this business to feed. What do you expect us to do?”
Another operator, Aliyu Ahmed, said: “We know that the police and other government agencies are after us most times, but we find a way to dodge them.
“I have witnessed some accidents involving okada riders, but I have to continue with the business because I have no other source of income. For each passenger from Ladipo to Mile 2, we charge between N500 and N600.”
A commuter, Oyindamola John, said: “Although I patronise okada riders, I don’t support them going on highways considering the dangers involved.”
John narrated how she witnessed an accident involving a passenger around Jakande Gate, who was hit by a motorcyclist and died on the spot.
Another commuter, Mojisola Olayinka, said: “Okada should not be completely banned to ease peoples’ pains, but could be restricted from plying the highways.When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Agency (Task Force), Gbadeyan Abdulraheem, said the agency is aware of their operations, particularly on highways, but decided not to take any action against them due to the current economic situatio
He said: “There is no society that is totally crime free, we will ensure that the okada riders are checked. The operation to impound motorcycles has started, we have reached Apapa, Agege, Abule Egba and Ikotun and will definitely get to other areas.”
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