3rd September, 2012
Following the ban on okada riders from plying 475 roads in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, some commercial motorcycle operators, also known as okada riders, have resolved to relocate to other states, saying the law is too harsh on them.
At a meeting between the Lagos State Government and transport operators, including okada riders at the weekend, a section of the okada union appealed to the government to extend the date for the enforcement to enable them make some money to relocate their business and families from the state.
They also called for amendment of the law, saying the penalties prescribed by the law were too severe.
Paul Ugo, Chairman, Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria (MTUN), said: “we are aware of the law. We have been trying to sensitise our people about the law but my members said they can no longer operate in the state under this law.
“They are appealing to the state government to give them time to make some money to be able to relocate their families from Lagos state.”
Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa who presided over the meeting told the operators that the state government was not interested in stampeding people out of their business and state.
He said there was no going back on the enforcement and called for voluntary compliance with the law to ensure safety and security of life and property in the state.
“We are determined and we are going to be decisive. We have not banned commercial motorcycles. We have only restricted their movement. We have not started enforcement of the Lagos Road Traffic Law.
“What we are doing right now is to sensitise the residents and stakeholders. We had a special stakeholders’ forum on the traffic law organised by the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Rural Development on Thursday and another one with you leaders of the various unions,” he said. Opeifa added that although the law had become operational since it was signed, Lagos State being a responsive and responsible government which believed in enlightenment before enforcement decided to shift enforcement in order to ensure that the people were properly educated on the provisions of the law.
Appealing to motorcycle and tricycle operators to obey the law, he reiterated that the government had not banned the operations of motorcycles and tricycles in the state, rather it had restricted their operations on 475 roads as recommended by communities, local government/ local council development areas and the House of Assembly.
Opeifa urged the illegal motorcycle and tricycle associations in the state to shelve their grievances, come together and affiliate with the existing recognised associations under the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) in line with the Federal Government Trade Union Act.
He added that once it was noticed that the motorcycle and tricycle operators had complied with law, the state government would come out with new measures which would make life better for the motorcycle and tricycle operators. Commander, Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), Capt. Danjuma Maigari (retd) who condemned the menace of motorcycle and tricycle operators in the state, said government had series of complaints on the activities of the riders.
He appealed to them to, in their own interest, obey the law as anyone found to act in contrary to the law will be decisively dealt with.
Those in attendance at the stakeholders’ engagement included John Fagun, representing the Lagos State Task Force and Environmental Offences; officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI); the two recognised motorcycle associations in the state -Motorcycle Operators Association of Lagos State (MOALS), ANACOWA Motorcycle Owners and Riders Association and other unrecognized motorcycle associations such as ACCOMORAN and MUTUN