22nd December, 2010
By Dedeigbo Ayodeji
Apapa GRA Residents Association has made a wake up call on Apapa Local Governemnt by organising a protest march to the local council on Tuesday toÂ immediately eradicate motorcycle, bus and three wheeler operators in the area. It has been on record that for several years, efforts have been made by theÂ association to ensure environmental stability in the area but the presence of commercial drivers have been a bane to achieving that aim.
According to a release issued by AGRA General Manager, Mr. Paul Odey, â€œwe refer to several meetings and correspondences in the past over the problems posedÂ by commercial motorcycle, bus and three wheeler operators in Apapa GRA and we have noted the serious security and environmental risks posed by theirÂ operations in our neighbourhood. Having critically examined their continued existence in the area, we unanimously wish to request the ban of their operationsÂ in Apapa GRA from Monday, 20 December, 2010.â€
The release also read that the association was given authority by the Lagos State government to enforce sanitation laws in Apapa GRA via a letter dated 29Â July, 2008 with reference number MOE/888/SII/18. The activities of these groups of people have severely retarded all the efforts in cleaning up theÂ neighbourhood.
It was also recalled that in July 2010, the local government chairman, Mr. Ayodeji Joseph, sent the security unit led by his Special Assistant on Security,Â to rid the GRA of illegal okada bus stops and they were attacked by the same okada riders with some of them sustaining several injuries in the process.
However, an agreement was made at a general meeting held by the residents on 27 November, 2010 that okada and three wheelers would no longer be an acceptableÂ means of transportation inÂ the area and as such hereby called on the council chairman to put up a drastic solution to this menace.
Speaking to P.M.NEWS during the protest,Â the chairman, AGRA, Mr. Olaniyi Yusuf, said that the association had for long created awareness to Apapa localÂ government on the issue and also tried various measures to maintain orderliness within the GRA.
According to him, â€œthis protest is made to put the local government on ts its toes and do something about the indiscriminate ways of these commercial driversÂ and this agitation has been on for more than two years now. We need to put an end to this because it is obviously becoming too unbearable for the residentsÂ as we have recorded several incidents in the GRA in recent times as a result of â€˜okadaâ€™ operation. The situation is becoming more rampant and we have hadÂ several robbery incidents and I myself was a victim in 2007 as I was shot on the right leg after an encounter with an okada rider and a passenger whoÂ appeared to be an armed robber. He held me to ransom, took away my valuables and left me stranded. The environment is no longer safe for the residents andÂ the security of this area is being questioned.â€
Yusuf stressed that the present local government administration has done little to ensure environmental stability in the area and that his association hasÂ put some measures in place to stop this several times but all attempts have failed in the process, adding that most of the people who commit the offence doÂ not reside even close to the GRA but in Ajegunle, while some even come from beyond.
â€œWe have made a proposal to the local government so that we can run a partnership force against the problem on ground,â€ he said.