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Stakeholders identify ‘Okada’ as security threat, move against riders in Lagos

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A group of Okada riders in front of National Stadium, Surulere, where motorcycle operations are prohibited. PHOTO DENNIS EREZI

Stakeholders in security circle within Lagos have spotted ‘Okada’ riding as a security threat in the state.

They have, however, moved to check their excesses. Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, yesterday, revealed that 68.5 per cent of motorcycle accidents in Lagos led to death.

Odumosu, who gave the statistics in Lagos yesterday at the emergency security stakeholders town hall meeting hosted by the Lagos State government, revealed that of the 280 accidents that occurred in the state, 192 persons died while 64 others suffered serious injuries.

He noted that the menace of commercial motorcycle operation, apart from avoidable accidents, triggers other vices.

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“These include the use of okada as a veritable tool to commit crime and get away with it by hoodlums; disrespect to traffic rules and regulations; the okada operators becoming nuisance and reckless on our roads, resulting in avoidable accidents with attendant consequences on human life.

“Okada accidents on our roads are mostly caused by recklessness and lawlessness of its riders. It is common sight in Lagos metropolis to see okada operators ride recklessly on highways facing on-coming road users, especially during traffic peak periods.

“An ugly twist to all of these is that, anytime there is an accident caused by their reckless act, they (motorcyclists) often mobilise to traumatize the hapless motorists involved in the accident. They, often times during this careless act of theirs, mob their victims, create avenue for their colleagues and other social miscreants alike to unleash terror and theft of valuable items in the vehicle of the victims and other sympathisers around.”

The police boss revealed that his command was taking steps to avert the consequences of the threat by IPOB to attack the state.

He said the threat of IPOB to attack soft targets in the state is equally being put on the radar of the command intelligence gathering and other security services.

“Strategies are being put in place to neutralise their activities.”

He also said his command had taken notice of agitators for Oodua Republic by some Yoruba separatist groups and the threats to disrupt law and order in the state.

According to him, 24 of such Yoruba separatist groups have been identified and being closely monitored.

“The command is using this medium to solicit for the support of all and sundry to be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious person or movement to security agencies. Let us adopt the slogan of “when you see something, say something.”

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Meanwhile, Governor Bababjide Sanwo-Olu said insecurity in the country was disturbing.

“As the economic and commercial hub of Nigeria, the security of the state cannot be taken for granted. The state is not just home to the headquarters of the biggest companies in Nigeria, and to one of the largest stock exchanges in Africa, it is also the primary gateway for passengers and freight, in and out of Nigeria.

“As we speak, there are several billions of dollars of investment ongoing in the state, in real estate, transportation, manufacturing, services, agriculture, and several other areas.

“Nigeria’s ability to reach its full economic and developmental potential will be severely constrained in the absence of guaranteed security of lives and property in the state.

In recent times, we have recorded a worrying trend of nefarious activities in the state, from kidnappings, armed robbery, cult clashes and violent assaults.”

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