The Lagos State Government says over 5000 motorcycles popularly known as Okada were crushed in the first quarter of 2022.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso made this known on Friday while speaking with newsmen at the crushing of another set of 2000 Okada.
Omotoso urged the okada riders to embrace the many alternative modes of transportation provided by the government, as there were plans to inject more first and lastmile buses into the metropolis.
He said that in the first four months of 2022, “the state recorded 1,712 accidents, 767 were caused by okada, resulting in death, and 45 per cent of these riders were youths between 30 and 39 years.
”So taking okada off the roads is helping our young ones to stay alive, it is not hurting our people. We are not leaving them to their own devices and so we have said anyone who is interested in doing a decent business can form cooperative and join the First and Last Mile bus scheme.
”They can present their proposals to the state’s employment trust fund and get money to fund their businesses. We have vocational centres where they can learn a trade and start a new life. So, anyone saying okada is the only way to earn a living in Lagos is not doing any good.”
Also speaking at the event, Shola Jejeloye, the Chairman, Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit (Taskforce) disclosed that there is 85 per cent compliance on Okada ban in the last three days.
He said that the enforcement of the ban would continue, so as to ensure sanity of the environment.
According to him, the enforcement of the ban did just begin on Wednesday, June 1, but has been in force since Feb. 1, 2020.
”Since then, we have been on it. It is just that people believe in violating the law, which I don’t think is good enough in a cosmopolitan city like this. But since June 1, there has been more than 85 per cent compliance.
”Eight-five per cent compliance in the sense that we don’t see Okadas on the roads, on the express any longer. The number has drastically reduced.
”They might be of the belief that the first one week of the enforcement will be thorough; after one week we are going to relax, anyway, we will watch and see.
”I am passing this message to them that from next week, we will do more intense enforcement. Even those areas we cannot get to this week, we are going to extend to. So another phase will start on Monday.
”These three first days of enforcement is just to test-run it, to check the number of compliance, then the sustainability plan is the next phase, which we are going to enter on Monday”, he said.
Jejeloye said that there was no going back on enforcement of okada ban, as government does not make mockery of its policies and decisions.
On his part, Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederick Oladeinde, said that government was reforming the transportation sector and integrating all the various modes of transport, so that people could move from one mode to the other seamlessly and pay with just one ticket.
Oladeinde said that the first and lastmile buses rolled out by government would help to transport residents from where okada operation was not allowed.
He said that there were some some good okada riders and the government had spoken with the union, and asked them to form cooperative.
According to him, government will give them the first and lastmile buses, and employ some of them.
”So others who do not have skills, we do not want them in Lagos, and that is why you have the enforcement agency to walk around the clock just to make sure that people who do not need to be in Lagos are not in Lagos.
”We want people who have something to contribute to come to Lagos, people who have skills, so that we can begin to develop the economic potential of Lagos state.
”So we don’t want anybody just coming into Lagos, just because they can pick up Okada or they can sleep under the bridge. So this is going to be a resistance to them”, he said.
Oladeinde urged residents of Lagos State to be carm, respect the traffic law and move about their daily businesses, as government had provided alternative to Okada.