The Lagos State Government has issued a 21-day ultimatum to commercial motorcycle riders popularly known as ‘Okada’ to stay away from restricted areas across the state.
This development was announced at the state secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, during a meeting with okada unions on Thursday, June 25, 2015.
According to Punch, the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Tunji Bello, who chaired the meeting, said the government decided to give the riders 21-day ultimatum for the unions to sensitise their members to vacate the restricted routes before enforcement would begin.
He said, “We have held a meeting with the okada unions on what should be done. We had a meeting with security agencies before now on the resurgence of okada riders on the highways.
“They said they thought that the government had relaxed the law; there is no relaxation. We have decided to give them three weeks for enlightenment because we are not doing anything new; what we are doing is to re-enforce the law.”
He observed that there has been a reduction in accidents since 2012 when the law was enacted, adding that the enforcement was relaxed during the last elections so that political parties would not capitalise on the enforcement to score cheap political points.
He said, “We are not going back to that era again. For three weeks, they will educate their members on the need to leave the road. We need to save members of the public and the only way to do that is to restrict their movement and enforce our traffic law.
“We relaxed enforcement during the general elections because we didn’t want crisis and violence. We needed to avoid crisis at that time so that political parties would not capitalise on it. The enforcement will be in full force after three weeks. This is a law already in place and it has to be obeyed.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Oluseyi Coker, reinstated that the law has not been suspended hence, a strict adherence is expected.
He said, “We are doing this so that when we start enforcement, they will not say government did not caution them. The violation is much and we want the unions to educate their members.
“The Lagos State Government will do it right. We assure the residents that there will be normalcy on the road.”