The Lagos State House of Assembly is considering the reduction in the list of restricted 475 routes to be plied by commercial motorcyclists also known as okada riders in the state Road Traffic Law.
This hint is coming on the heels of enlightenment campaign being carried out by lawmakers in their various constituencies.
At the Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency 2 where its representative, Ipoola Omisore, spoke with the constituents Wednesday, the lawmaker confirmed that the House would definitely review the restricted routes.
According to him, since power is more resident in the electorate than the politicians, the former should come together and list out the roads they want to be delisted from the Schedule 2 of the Lagos Road Traffic Law.
Omisore, who organised a forum he tagged ‘Public Awareness Forum on the New Traffic Law,’ at the Jankara area of Ojokoro Local Council Development Area of the state, confirmed that the lawmakers were aware of the controversies that have trailed the passage of the law, adding that it was time to address these controversies.
At the event, the constituents voted for the delisting of three of the five affected roads listed as banned to okada activities in the area. Omisore also promised to convey their stand to his colleagues at the House.
Omisore told the constituents: “I decided to organise this forum so as to ensure that we put an end to clashes between okada riders and the police.
“Whatever we discuss here will be tabled before the Whole House and if we need to amend any part of the law, we would not hesitate to do so.
“The issue of okada is a major challenge for the state. Since the law was passed, crime rate has reduced and accidents have also reduced drastically.”
He appealed to policemen in the area to implement of the law with ‘human face’ as the House is inundated with complaints about the high-handedness of police officers in relation to the Traffic Law.
The Chairman of the Forum, Adeola Adefolabi, also advised the senior police officers at the event to ensure that the law enforcement agency does not go out of its mandate in the implementation of the law.
“We have seen cases where the police have arrested okada riders who have not contravened the law. This aspect should be looked into,” he told the gathering.
Residents of the area had lamented that the state government did not consider the poor state of roads in the constituency before listing routes.
They asked the lawmaker to help inform Governor Babatunde Fashola that he needs to fix the roads in their constituency and provide the residents with alternative means of transportation as it was done in other states where okada ban came effect.
Various stakeholders and associations involved the okada business also made their submissions as they claimed that they were not carried along while the law was being processed.
According to them, when they saw the bill, the controversial Schedule 2 which listed the restricted routes was not there.
“All of a sudden and after the public hearing, when they knew we would not be there again, the House smuggled that part of the law into it and passed it without consulting us,” one of them said.
Confirming this, Omisore told the gathering that before a bill becomes law, it is not every part of the bill that is made public, illustrating it with an examiner who would not make answers available to candidates before they sit for examinations.