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Okada riders poise for war in Lagos

600 deaths recorded in 10,000 Okada accidents in Lagos …If this ban came early, my husband would’ve been alive —Bereaved lady …Benefits of the ban By Ishola Balogun, Evelyn Usman, Olasunkanmi Akoni and Samuel Ameh.

The stage is set for a major confrontation between the Lagos State Government and commercial motorcyclists and tricycle operators otherwise known as Okada and Keke riders today. Last week, the state government announced the ban on their activities in six Local Government Areas and nine Local Council Development Areas in the state, with its enforcement to begin today, February 1, 2020.

Other states in the federation have equally banned them but they found their way to Lagos. The decision to ban them according to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, was reached after consultation with stakeholders and the State Security Council, in compliance with the extant Transport Sector Reform Law 2018. The consultation with stakeholders he said, was necessitated by the debate on what had been widely referred to as the motorcycles and tricycles menace. But the Okada riders have vowed to resist the ban and dared the law enforcement agents to come after them saying they (Okada riders) were waiting for them. According to them, they had no other means of livelihood and they were not ready to go into robbery. Indeed, some of these commercial motorcyclists operate with reckless abandon without consideration of the laws of the land. A good number of commercial motorcyclists constitute nuisance and disorderliness which make Lagos State a mockery of its self-acclaimed Centre of Excellence. For instance, some of them brazenly block the road, preventing motorists access. When challenged, they would gang-attack the motorist. Aside from that, the security threat posed by some of these riders can not be overlooked. Lagos, with an estimated population of 24 million and due to its economic and socio-political importance in the country, keeps attracting migration of people and this has made it have its fair share of security challenges.

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