26th August, 2010
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has assured commercial motorcycle operators popularly called “okadaâ€™â€™ that they will not be totally banned in the state.
Fashola gave the assurance at the first stakeholdersâ€™ forum on commercial motorcycle operations in the state.
The event, coordinated by the state Ministry of Transportation, was attended by representatives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO).
Others are from the Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State (MOALS), the Motorcycles Owners and Riders Association (ANACOWA), traders and the motorcycle riders.
Also in attendance were the representatives of the FRSC, LASTMA, the police command, the army, navy and the Nigeria Air Force.
“Banning okada from operations in the state is not the solution because I know where the shoe pinches,â€™â€™ Fashola said.
He said that the stakeholdersâ€™ forum was to collectively ensure security of lives and protection of properties as the cardinal responsibilities of any responsible government.
The governor, however, said the operations of the commercial motorcyclists would be banned from the Third Mainland Bridge, Ikorodu Road to Mile 12 and the Lagos- Badagry Expressway.
“They are also banned from the entire Lagos Central Business District and other highways, due to dangers such places posed to riders and passengers,â€™â€™ he said.
He advised them not to carry pregnant women, children of school age and should not carry more than one passenger beside the rider.
He also appealed to the operators to be law abiding by obeying traffic lights and laws for their safety and other road users.
Fashola, who said the riders rendered services to the citizenry, however, charged them to venture into other forms of transportation being put in place by the state government.
“They should buy into the Bus Rapid Transit, LAGBUS and the water transportation by owning ferries,â€™â€™ he said.
He urged security agencies empowered to enforce the okada operations not to brutalise the riders while enforcing the law.
Fashola directed the Commissioners for Transportation and Justice to release motorcycles that had been seized from their owners if they were not involved in any litigation.
The NURTW State Chairman, Alhaji Rafiu Olohunwa, promised that okada riders were ready to abide by the laws of the state.
Mr. Tijani Pekins, Chairman, Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State, appealed to the government to help create some orderliness in their operations.
“This is by ensuring that only recognised bodies practise trade union activities among motorcycle riders,â€™â€™ he said.
Mr. Ade Ikuesan, Chairman, Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association (ANACOWA), said his members were ready to abide by the state regulations on okada operations.