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Harrowing experience on day one of Lagos ban on Okada, Marwa

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Despite ban on motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke NAPEP), a few riders plied the Oshodi-Mile 2 Road, Lagos, yesterday. Photo: ENIOLA DANIEL

• As NCP Faults Sanwo-Olu, Calls For Reversal
Many residents had a distressing time yesterday, moving from one point to another, as Lagos State government’s ban on motorcycles and tricycles, popularly called Okada and Marwa, took off. There was full compliance in some of the places monitored.

From Ajah to Victoria Island, Costain, Orile, Mile 2, Ijesha, Cele and Oshodi, the large number of motorcycles that used to dot the major roads around the areas had disappeared. The Police, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Agency officers were sighted at strategic locations along these areas.

At the foot of the Eko Bridge, on both lanes, gun-wielding Police officers were on ground with LASTMA and Neighbourhood officers. They did not stop the two dispatched riders that rode on the bridge, when The Guardian was at the spot observing their operation.

On the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, the sea of okada and marwa riders, at the top and under the Mile 2 flyover, waiting to pick passengers had also disappeared, with just a handful Okada available. They were, however, very cautious in picking commuters. The few motorcycle riders available only plied the Mile-Apapa corridor and the Mile 2-Okoko route. The partial roadblock mounted at Ilasa, inward Mile 2, by Police officers must have discouraged Okada riders from plying the Mile 2-Oshodi section of the road.

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However, two trucks that had a collision, yesterday at Ilasa Bus-stop, inward Oshodi, complicated the plight of motorists and commuters. It was standstill for hours.

On the Lekki-Epe Expressway, the mass of Okadas and Marwas that usually conveyed residents from Ajah inward Ibeju-Lekki stayed off the road. But residents were sighted at different bus stops, waiting to board buses, while those who could not wait were seen trekking.

A resident, Nikru Emmanuel said the Lagos State Government should rethink its decision on the ban, as it was not well thoughtout. According to her, the state government should have provided alternatives for residents before the ban. “There are some routes in Ikeja where the only means for commuting is by Okada or Marwa. So, what would happen on Monday, when a large number of workers resume?”

She also said the state governments need to improve on traffic management, asking that the Governor should ensure that LASTMA officers exert more energy in ensuring free flowing traffic and not just standing and looking out only for motorists to apprehend.

“Many of these traffic officers do not control traffic. They do occasional impulse arrest of motorists, coming up with trump charges,” she said.

The National Conscience Party (NCP) Lagos State chairman, Comrade Fatain Ibuowo said the proscription is a wicked act, and a move to take away Lagosians’ source of livelihood.

The party said the move, if not reversed could lead to an upsurge in the rate of unemployment, insecurity, armed robbery, kidnapping and economic downturn in the state.

Ibuowo said: “The NCP felt that the government did not take into consideration the frustrating traffic situation in areas like Apapa before taking the decision. It is insensitive for a government to block the source of livelihood of the people and not provide another in replacement.

“What has Sanwo-Olu done as policy to substitute the Okadas? If government cannot provide jobs, is it not political senselessness to bar jobs?”

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