On Wednesday, May 18, the Lagos State Governor announced a ban on commercial motorcycles, also known as Okada in six local government areas within the state.
The Governor described the ban as total and indefinite in the affected areas which includes Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa. In his statement, he also added that this was just the beginning as there was a plan for the ban to be extended to other areas of the state.
Now, the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Enforcement Unit or the Task Force, said it will intensify the crushing of all seized motorcycles.
According to the chairman of the Task Force, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Shola Jejeloye, his unit destroyed no fewer than 11,820 motorcycles in 2021. However, this hasn’t seemed to deter the riders as he claimed the number of Okada riders have increased in the state. Amid security reports that some of these okada riders are actually hoodlums and bandits, the task force aims to continue the crushing of impounded motorcycles until the state completely gets rid of Okada on prohibited routes.
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The Task Force’s Director, Press and Public Affairs, Gbadeyan Abdulraheem blamed the rising numbers of motorcyclists in the state on crisis in neighboring countries.
“When you look at Africa as a whole, especially the West African sub-region, you hardly see any country not plagued by unrest, so, they have found a comfort zone, which is Lagos. People migrate from the northern and eastern parts of the country to Lagos; some of these northern states have banned Okada so, there is no other place to go than Lagos.”
“As we crushed, we experienced an influx of more, even from other countries like Ghana, Togo, Mali, Chad and Benin Republic. Their belief is that once they get to Lagos, they will see someone to buy a motorcycle for them and they can make N5,000 per day.”
“You can imagine that Kano banned Okada and the whole Okada riders in that state came to Lagos, but I believe one day will be one day, because there is no day we will not impound over 500 motorcycles, yet we still see them in large numbers on the road.”
“These guys know every nook and cranny of Lagos, so it has a serious security implication; a total ban is the best for us.”