The Lagos State Government on Thursday said commercial motorcycle operators, popularly called okada riders, were responsible for most cases of insecurity and a large number of tragedies in the state.
The government added that it had decided to stop the menace of the riders and motorists’s poor driving attitudes with its new traffic law.
Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said these at a stakeholders’ forum on the law in Lagos.
The forum, which had in attendance representatives of Community Development Associations, Community Development Committees and Supervisory Councillors of local governments among others, was organised by the ministries of Transportation and Rural Development.
Orelope-Adefulire said with the traffic law, the government would no longer fold its arms and watch its roads turned to slaughter slabs by reckless motorists and okada riders.
She said, “This law has to do with us as a people of Lagos and those dealing with us. The law is for the benefit of all of us.
“There had been incidents involving okadas, which were avoidable. The okada riders riders have caused untold agonies for families as a result of accidents caused by their recklessness. Sometimes the injuries are so bad that death is preferable.”
The Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, urged the participants at the forum to educate residents in their areas on the law and also help in preventing okada operations in restricted areas of the state.
He said, “There are 9, 100 roads in Lagos State and we have restricted okada operations in 475. Those who want to abandon riding could go to our skills acquisition centre to learn a vocation. Others that want to embrace farming will be trained and helped to get banks to finance them.”
Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi, urged residents to cooperate with the government in the enforcement of the law.
He said regulation of okada operations would not only sanitise the roads, but also ensure security in the state.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tunde Sobulo, who represented the state commissioner of police, said the police would support the law and do everything to make it work.
He said, “I know that people expected that some policemen would want to use the law to extort. We have also expected that and we have put up measures to prevent it.”
Earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Justice Reform, Olanrewaju Akinsola, said the past law was enacted in 1949 and had been reviewed 12 times.