At the weekend, Lagos State Government asked commercial motorcyclists, popularly called okada to desist from operating on the 475 restricted routes across the state in compliance with Lagos Road Traffic Law, 2012.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Oluseyi Coker, said this at a news conference in Alausa, noting that the state government frowned at the disregard to the law of the state by okada riders.
He added that the state government would no longer fold its hands and allow the impunity to continue, saying okada operators “are still banned in 475 roads out of the 9,100 roads in the metropolis in accordance with the law.”
He said due to the enforcement of the provisions of the 2012 Road Traffic Law, the state witnessed over 81 percent reduction in the number of motorcycles related accidents reported in the state’s public health institutions and over 80 percent reduction in motorcycle related death reported at our public hospitals.
He added that okada-related deaths “have been drastically reduced from 192 per year to a maximum of six per year. We have saved about 465 lives since October 2012 to date.”
“We have also prevented an average of 476 motorcycle related injuries monthly and 5,712 yearly. By implication, we have prevented a total of 14,220 motorcycle accident related injuries since 2012.”
Coker said more recently, there were some months that the casualty rates were as low as zero percent to the extent that the so called ‘’Okada’’ wards at some of the state’s public hospitals had become empty.
“However, it is disheartening to see that motorcycle operators have resurfaced on our restricted roads especially in areas such as Ikeja, Isolo, Apapa, Agege, Epe, Ijede, Shomolu/ Bariga, Ifako Ijaiye/ Ojokoro, Ikorodu, Mushin, Ketu, Ojota, Lagos Island, Ojodu and Badagry in spite of the various efforts of the past administrations in the State to ensure that the menace of motorcycle operators is curbed and the rate of accident, injuries and death is reduced drastically in the State.
“This administration, being a responsive and responsible government committed to the protection of lives and property, safety of all Lagosians and visitors alike will not fold its hands and allow indiscipline, flagrant disobedience to law and order, loss of lives and property of innocent citizens of the State to continue unabated.
“It is in view of this that I call on the leaders of transport unions and executives of various motorcycle operators (registered and non-registered) to ensure that motorcycle operators strictly adhere to the various Laws regulating their operations as contained in Section 3 of the Road Traffic Law as well as desist from plying any of the 475 roads, including highways and bridges restricted for their operations out of the 9, 200 roads in the State. The Law on motorcycle operation in the State is Sacrosanct.
“Motorcycle operators should please note that henceforth, anyone found to have violated the Law shall be dealt with in accordance with the Road Traffic Law, RTL 2012 Section 3 Subsection 5 which stipulates that “Any person who fails to comply with any of the provisions of this Section commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to: imprisonment for a term of three (3) years or render community service in accordance with the provisions of Section 347 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State and have his vehicle forfeited to the State,” he stated.