25th May, 2022
The Defend Lagos Coalition, an amalgamation of civil society, faith and community-based organizations on Wednesday threw its weight behind Lagos State government’s ban on okada operations in the state.
The National Coordinator, Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihekaire, while addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Lagos said there is immediate need for a total clampdown on commercial motorcycles (Okada) operations in Lagos State.
He urged Lagos residents to join in demanding from the Lagos State government a total clampdown on motorcycles.
“We have, therefore, come together today to ask Lagosians to join us in demanding from the Lagos State government a total clampdown on motorcycles (okada) as a means of transportation in every nook and cranny of the state,” he said.
He stated that a collective action, which requires the input of all true Lagosians, is needed to eradicate the menace of Okada in the state.
He applauded Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the bold step of announcing the ban on Okada operations in six local government council areas and LCDAs.
Ihekaire added that the Lagos, “Governor has shown without any doubt that he is a dutiful servant of the people who is ever-ready to listen and carry out the people’s desires in line with his constitutional mandate.”
Ihekaire said that “Lagosians have, on a daily basis, experienced several threats to lives and property, flagrant disobedience of the laws of the land, by the ‘army’ of undocumented commercial motorcycle operators, who have laid siege Lagos State.
He added that “the sense of insecurity convened by these dare-devil riders should not be allowed to continue.”
Ihekaire noted that the conference was called to address the very urgent and crucial issue that affected the collective existence of people living in Lagos State.
Lamenting that artisans and able-bodied Nigerian youths have abandoned their trained jobs to become emergency okada riders, the group’s spokesman added that, “Youths are no longer interested in vocational training to earn a decent and enduring living; rather, they have taken to riding Okada to make “quick” money with the attendant risk to their lives.”
Ihekaire said the group as grassroots-based organizations had “In the past couple of months, conducted independent surveys, which revealed that not only are majority of these motorcycle riders foreigners from countries, such as Republic of Chad, Niger Republic and other neighboring countries, we were also able to establish that they constitute a very potent risk to lives and properties of Lagosians. They must be stopped before it is too late.’’
“In the past few months, we have recorded cases of violent crimes and civil disturbances directly linked to the motorcycle operators, with some leading to the destruction of assets, loss of lives of innocent citizens and security agents.”