Nigeria: Again, Lagos Bans Commercial Motorcyclists

The governor said the ban would become effective June 1

The Lagos State government has imposed a fresh ban on commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada, in the state.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu spoke at a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders, and Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) at the State House on Wednesday.

He said the ban would be “total” on all highways across six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of the State.

Effective from June 1, 2022, the governor directed security operatives to enforce the proscription order across Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Surulere, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, and Apapa local councils.

The latest ban comes more than two years after the governor restricted the commercial motorcyclists’ activities in the six local councils.

In January 2020, the governor banned the operation of the motorcyclists in 15 local councils across the state.

Mr Sanwo-Olu said a review of the restriction in 2020 showed that the motorcyclists’ “menace has not abated.”

“We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Government and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022,” said the governor.

The governor’s directive comes amidst the increasing notoriety of commercial motorcyclists in the state.

Last week, a band of unruly Okada riders lynched a sound engineer in the upscale Lekki neighbourhood, after a disagreement between a rider and a passenger.

Mr Sanwo-Olu told the police to enforce the order without compromise, sternly warning that the State Government would not condone any security formation that relaxes the new ban in its jurisdiction.

“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do,” he said.

“We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total.”

Mr Sanwo-Olu advised residents patronising Okada riders on highways to embrace the alternative transport schemes already provided by the government to plan their journey.

“We have provided Last Mile buses in the affected areas; they are working and effective,” said Mr Sanwo-Olu.

“We also have medium-capacity buses and high-capacity buses working in these areas. Before the end of the year, we are also bringing the rail along these corridors with their terminals. We have provided jetties as well to provide alternatives.

“We will not sit back and watch criminally-minded people use that mode of transportation (motorcycles) to perpetrate crimes and criminality in Lagos. Lives are being lost on a daily basis, preventable accidents are happening every day and the riders are not respecting any of our traffic laws.

“The situation has led to a complete breakdown of law and order. This ban has come to stay and we will not tolerate any weakness in enforcement.”

The Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, directed his men to ensure complete enforcement of the Governor’s order in the listed councils and areas.

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