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Ban of Okada and keke NAPEP continues after one week

It’s exactly a week today that the Lagos State Government commenced the restriction of commercial motorcycles popularly called ‘Okada’ and tricycles called ‘Keke NAPEP’ in some parts of the state. Since the enforcement was effected, some of the riders have complied while partial compliance was observed in other areas. It has been different strokes for different people as residents and commuters have continued to lament while others give kudos to the Lagos State Government for taking the bold step. Residents in Lagos on Saturday, February 1st, 2020, woke up to the stark reality of a new dawn in traffic order as the metropolis was devoid of usual activities of “Okada” and “Keke NAPEP, “ in compliance with the state government ban on their operations. Recall that the state government had on January, 27th, announced plans to commence total enforcement of Reform Traffic Law of 2018 on activities of the operators on restricted routes and bridges across 15 Local Government Areas of the state with effect from February 1st. While most residents hailed the state government for taking a bold step to ban Okada in the state, others flayed the government for adding to the hardship of already depressed residents. On the first day of enforcement, which fell on a weekend, there was an impressive compliance as described by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho while reacting to the enforcement. Expectedly, on the following Monday, first day of the working week the operators carried out their threat to resist the enforcement as they took to some major roads like Apapa, Oyingbo, Ikeja in violent protest against the taskforce and other enforcement agents. The protest was also rehashed on Wednesday at Iyana-Ipaja area of the state when miscreants, called “Area Boys” and okada, keke NAPEP operators engaged taskforce in confrontation. Over 50 suspects have been arrested why over 1, 000 motorcycles were impounded. Areas like Apapa and Oshodi-Apapa Expressway still have the okada operating, though not in their large numbers. One of the okada riders, who spoke to Vanguard explained that they were still operating along Oshodi Apapa Expressway because the roads are very bad and inaccessible to motorists and the only means of transport to access the area was by motorcycle. “Where do they (government) want us to go. We are going no where because we are doing a legitimate work. This is what I do to feed my family with other responsibilities. We normally come out in the night now to avoid taskforce in daytime.,” Ahmed, okada rider told Vanguard. There has been strict compliance in Ikeja Secretariat, Ojodu Berger, Ikeja under bridge and Allen Avenue where the activities of okada were usually high. Ikorodu to Ketu/Mile 12 There was total compliance from Ikorodu Round-about to Agric, Ogolonto, Majidun, Itowolo, Ajegunle and Owode to Ketu/Mile 12 except that some uniform men did not obey the restriction order. At peak periods, the uniform men flouted the order by riding on the expressway without wearing safety helmets. From Mile 12 to Ketu, total compliance was noticed as commercial riders kept off the route to avoid facing the wrath of the law. Similarly, the riders had boycotted Mile 12 Under-bridge. From Ebute  to Ogolonto, few riders were on the road in the morning while they resumed full operation from 5pm till late hours. Iyana-Oworo /Third Mainland Bridge There was total compliance from Ikorodu Road to Iyana-Oworo and Third Mainland Bridge as the riders appeared to have relocated to Alapere, Ajelogo and other inner routes. Oregun Road There was partial compliance in the axis as some riders usually outwitted the law enforcement operatives by plying the route most especially to Tollgate and other inner routes. Yaba Local Government Apart from Alaagomeji, violation of the restriction order took place at Oyingbo and its environ as commercial motorcycle operators dared the enforcement team by carrying out their activities in the area. Lagos Island There was full compliance in Lagos Island especially in the areas visited by Saturday Vanguard as the usual rowdiness associated with commercial motorcycles and tricycles was absent in places like Adeniji Adele, Jankara, Tom Jones, Eyin-Eyo, Idumota, Dosunmu, Ebute-Ero, Mosalasi and General Hospital. Tom Jones and Eyin Eyo which used to be associated with clustered commercial motorcycles were completely free from gridlock when Sunday Vanguard took a walk round the area at about noon of Wednesday. It’s exactly a week today that the Lagos State Government commenced the restriction of commercial motorcycles popularly called ‘Okada’ and tricycles called ‘Keke NAPEP’ in some parts of the state. Since the enforcement was effected, some of the riders have complied while partial compliance was observed in other areas.

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