The police in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, say they are battle-ready to enforce the new road traffic law, which has been gazetted.
This is coming as the Lagos State Government has recruited Neigbourhood Watchers, Community Development Associations, CDAs, Community Development Committees, CDCs, community leaders, among others to assist the government in enforcing the ban on commercial motorcycle riders, also known as okada riders from plying 475 roads in the Lagos metropolis.
Commissioner of Police, Umaru Manko, who spoke at a special stakeholders’ meeting on the Lagos State Road Traffic Law held at the Lagos Television Ground, Ikeja on Thursday, said the police would give the state government 100 percent backing in enforcing the new law, especially on okada riders.
“Before this law was passed, we have been trying to use native way of doing things, such as puncturing the tyres of vehicles that ply one way. We are passionate about this law and we will do everything to make it work,” said Manko, who was represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tunde Sobulo.
“The law has been enacted and we are ready to enforce it. We envisage that some of our men will try to capitalise on this law to extort money,” he said, saying that such people should be reported to the police authorities for appropriate sanction.
According to him, the problem of the Nigerian police are the people, saying that if the people are ready to support the police, the law would work, adding that the CDCs should work with the Divisional Police Officers, DPOs to enforce the law.
On the use of siren, Manko added that the Inspector General of Police was in Lagos last weekend and that right from the airport to Ikoyi, the IGP did not use siren, stressing that if the IGP did not use siren, no police officer in the state should use siren again.
He stated that the police would ensure that okada riders obey the new law in totality, saying that the police would enforce it in totality.
Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa said all the CDAs, CDCs, Neighbourhood Watch officers, community leaders must assist the government in enforcing the new law by making sure that no okada rider was allowed to ply prohibited roads in their domains.
“We are doing this for safety and security purposes. Where you have lots of okada, there will be stealing in the area. We only banned them from plying 475 roads out of the 9,100 roads we have in Lagos.
“We called you here so that you can know this law and that the law is in your own interest. In all these roads we banned okada and tricycles from, we have public buses plying them. All the chairmen of local governments were called to bring the list of roads in their domains which okadas should not ply,” he stated.
“Community leaders should ensure compliance by okada riders. Tell them we don’t want them to ply those roads in your domains we banned them from plying. When okadas leave, there will be security,” he added.
Commissioner for Rural Development, Cornelius Ojelabi said the CDAs, CDCs and others were brought to the meeting to be kept abreast of the new traffic law and asked them to partner with the government in enforcing the law.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Justice Sector Reform, Lanre Akinsola, had enlightened thousands of grassroots leaders on the new law and why they should partner with the government to enforce the law.
Deputy Governor, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire appealed to the CDAs, CDCs, community leaders, among others to collaborate with the government in enforcing the law, saying that government is ready to ensure that the law worked.