Lagosians Groan As Enforcement Of Okada Ban Begins


As the Lagos State Government, South-West Nigeria began the enforcement of  partial ban on  commercial motorcyclist  popularly known as Okada yesterday, Lagosians are already groaning  over the hardship the government’s decision is making them go through.

In some areas, the okada riders appear to have complied with the partial ban. These are  specified areas like Ozumba Mbadiwe ( from Bonny Camp – First Roundabout) on Victoria Island,  Awolowo Road, Gerard Avenue, Alexander Road, Osborne Road, Alfred Rewane Road in Ikoyi and CMS  ( outer marina).

The ban also took effect on other routes like Funsho Williams Avenue, Eko Bridge-Akpongbo,  Murtala Muhammed Way, Jibowu-Yaba-Oyingbo-Iddo-Idumota road, Jibowu to Ikorodu roundabout,  third mainland bridge, Apapa-Oshodi expressway, all network of roads around Lagos State  Secretariat, Alausa, Moshalasi-Oshodi-Abule Egba- Ogun State boundary and all bridges in the  state.

Commuters who usually employ the services of okada riders were stranded at several bus stops  along the affect routes today.

According to P.M.NEWS finding, the presence of police and other security outfits in the state,  along the banned routes appeared to have compelled the okada riders to comply with the ban  order. Some stubborn riders are however still defying the order.

On the Third Mainland bridge, no okada rider was seen on that route. The situation was the same  on the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, Ikorodu road and  several other roads that are off limits for  okada riders.

At Ojota, some okada riders who defied the ban were arrested and their okadas impounded.

Some commuters who spoke with our reporters lamented  the hardship they went through this  morning trying to get to their places of work.

Isioma Okafor, a trader at the Oshodi Market who resides at Agidingbi said: “I just came out  this morning and noticed that there are few  okada riders on the road. When I asked, they said  it’s because of the new ban order. Look at the heavy traffic, how am I supposed to get to my  shop early and do business today?”

Another commuter called Kemi, who appeared stranded with other commuters at a bus stop along  Awolowo Way, Ikeja  said the ban is painful for her.

“Just look at the road, the buses are not coming because of the heavy traffic at Allen  junction. We have been here for hours now. It is  really painful that government have to  include this route on their ban list.”

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There was, however, business as usual this morning as some Okada riders, defied the order on  some routes

P.M.NEWS checks  from Abule-Egba to Oshodi show that the ban is hardly effective as okada  riders carried out their operations with reckless abandon. They were seen carrying two  passengers on the ever-busy Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway en route Ikeja.

As if that was not enough, most of them operated without helmets for themselves and their  passengers. They were competing with buses and cars.

At Ikeja yesterday, okada operators rode against the traffic, with some of them riding on road  median. Some LASTMA officials were seen just watching them.

Although there was partial sanity within Ikeja, it was noticed that okada operators still carry  school children, loads, pregnant women without helmets which constitutes a breach of the law  guiding their operations.

Because of the ongoing enforcement of the partial ban, a trip from Abule-Egba to Ikeja which  hitherto cost between N250 and N300 now attracts between N400 and N500.

A passenger at the bus stop was seen negotiating with a cyclist for N350 which he blatantly  refused.

“If I’m arrested, what will I use to settle the officials?” the okada rider asked.

He said now that the ban has commenced, law enforcement officials will demand for high bribes  and as such, they must make provision for it.

It is now a tug of war as passengers beg and fight in order to ride on bike. Some passengers  even fixed higher prices for the operator in order to outdo other passengers.

—Henry Ojelu & Ufforth Shallom

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