Okada ban: Lagos roads calm as operators comply with govt’s directive
Commercial motorcyclists, otherwise known as Okada riders, yesterday, complied with the Lagos State directive, banning their operations in six local councils.
Lagos residents, who were apprehensive due to alleged threat by Okada riders to protest their ban, yesterday, woke up to witness a calm situation.
To these residents, the situation was different from their expectations, as many had refused to leave their homes early, preferring to adopt a wait and see attitude, while others totally cancelled their engagements, despite assurances by security agents.
Even officials of Correctional centres in Lagos refused to transport inmates to court for the same reason, while construction firms, like HITECH, also moved out their equipment from construction sites and advised their staff to stay at home.
But the Okada operators proved everyone wrong and averted what could have been a major show down with security agents by complying with the fresh ban imposed by the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which took off yesterday across different locations in the state.
The Guardian observed that there were no signs of Okada movement in Mile 2, Oshodi Apapa, Berger, Toyota, Ladipo, CMS and Lekki, which are hot spots for their operations.
Although residents in Alakija, Barracks and Iyana-Iba axis, claimed that policemen and Okada riders clashed with some shootings within that area, the claims could not be verified.
At press time, the Police Public Relations Officer, Superintendent of Police (SP), David Hundeyin, could not react to the development as he neither picked his calls nor replied to text messages sent to his phone.
The ban, which also covers the city’s trunk roads and flyover bridges, is not the first, as the state had announced a ban on their Okada operations on February 4, 2020.
But, a resident, Mr. Peter Obinna, said the ban came timely after strange elements from neighbouring countries such as Niger Republic, Chad and Northern Cameroon, have joined the mass movement of Northern Nigerians to the South in the last three years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic to cause mayhem and traffic in the state.
He claimed that most of the operators in the Apapa, Lagos Island, Lekki and Ikeja axis are armed and ready to dispossess anyone that crosses their path.
Another resident, Otabor James, described the ban as great development, as there is need for peace and orderliness in the state,
He called on Lagos State government to fast-track other means of mass transportation, as he has to trek a distance, because there was no bike.
A resident, Tayospeak Akanni, said: “ We will not vote for Sanwo Olu for imposing hardship on us. I have been trekking for half of the day. At Least when he bans this means of transportation there should be another means to replace it, but none.”
But Temitope Chukwuka, said Okada riders only complied for fear of molestation, but will return within the next two weeks, after enforcement has relaxed.
“For now they are complying and it will be like that for two weeks. When the government gets tired and they will start bringing out their bikes one after the other,” he said.