By BENJAMIN OMOIKE
The Lagos State Government said it is considering a total ban of commercial motorcycles in all local government areas of the state.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, made this known at a stakeholders forum organised to review the ban on commercial motorcycles in parts of the state.
The forum, held in Lagos on Tuesday, had the theme: “Okada Ban, What Next: Review of Enforcement and Compliance, Two Months After.”
The state Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu, had on June 1, banned the operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada, in six local government areas and nine LCDAs.
The six local governments are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa.Omotosho said after seeing the results of the ban in the six local government areas, the people of Lagos had been calling on the government to expand the ban.
“Some people have suggested that the ban should be statewide, considering the present anxiety over security,” he added.
According to him, the forum is to take stock of the government decision on the ban and agree on the next step to take.
He recalled the criticisms that initially trailed the ban, “based largely on sentiments of those who had not witnessed the havoc some of the Okada riders caused in the areas of health and security.
“Residents were being robbed of their belongings by robbers who used motorcycles to flee scenes of crimes.
“Our public hospitals were being filled with victims of Okada accidents, doctors had their hands full at Emergency wards, and hoodlums who rode unregistered motorbikes posed great security risks.”
The Commissioner said all stakeholders now have the opportunity to make suggestions on what steps the government should take on the matter.
In his remark, the Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde, said that the ban had recorded significant successes and compliance.
Oladeinde said in the affected areas within the period under review, available records’ showed that crime and accidents had reduced drastically.
“In the affected areas within the period under review, available records’ show that crime and accident rate reduced astronomically by 86 per cent and 63.7 per cent, respectively.
“While a total of 7,500 motorcycles were impounded and crushed accordingly,” he added.
He said that the rise in the level of insecurity nationwide has made it imperative to review the impact on the ban on motorcycles in parts of the state and further steps to protect the people.
“The Federal Government is presently considering the total ban of motorcycle operations across the federation as most of these underground activities are been enhanced with the use of motorcycles.
“Also, the attention of the state government has been drawn to the security threat parading the news across all socio-media platforms that some unscrupulous individuals are planning to attack the state.”
Oladeinde said the government was already working round the clock to secure the state.
The commissioner said the focus on Okada operation was due to their non-compliance to traffic rules and regulations, and its being used for robbery, kidnapping, arms supply and attack on citizens.
He said the forum was expected to re-ignite the state’s commitment to tackling traffic rules violations and criminals operating as commercial riders.
The Special Adviser to the governor on Transportation, Mr Sola Giwa said the forum should come up with suggestions to guide the government on decisions to take on the operation of Okada riders.