Kayode Fasua in Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has stressed the need for commercial motorcycle operators (a.k.a okada riders) to desist from operating on expressways, or risk outright sanction by the government.
Only recently, the government threatened to ban the operations of Okada riders for failing to comply with restriction rules aimed at flattening the curve of the coronavirus pandemic.
Abiodun stated this at the weekend, when he inaugurated the Ogun State Transport Master Plan Committee in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
He said the purpose of allowing motorcyclists to operate in the state was to serve as a means of moving people from the interior parts of the town to the major roads, regretting that they have since abandoned this role and are now plying the expressways.
Abiodun described venturing into the highways by the cyclists as “suicidal”, not only to the riders, but also said they are a nuisance to their passengers.
He said the act was appalling and that something would be done to stop the trend, charging members of the committee led by the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Gbenga Dairo, to be proactive on the matter.
He said: “We have seen the menace of these okada riders, it is not limited to Ogun State alone. I recalled that when okada riders were introduced, they were meant to serve the people from the internal roads to the major roads.
“They were not meant to ply the major roads. Worse still, they were not meant to ply highways. Today, you see okada on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. I think that must stop.”
The governor, therefore, charged members of the committee “to come up with measures that will discourage motorcycle operators from operating.
He said: “In the meantime, you need to come up with a decision on Okadas and how to stop them from plying the highways. We must not see Okadas on Lagos-Ibadan expressway because this is completely unacceptable.
“That road was not built for okada riders. It is not our intention to dispossess the people of employment opportunities or business opportunities, but at the same time, we must do so within the context and confine of what works for us and we want to ensure that things are better organised.”
He said the inauguration of the Steering Committee of Ogun State Transportation Master Plan was in furtherance the administration’s commitment to the development of the transport sector as an
integral part of the economic system of the state.
The steering committee, according to the governor, is expected to complete its assignment in 12 weeks.
Responding, the chairman of the committee, Dairo, noted that transportation is critical in the socio-economic wellbeing of the people, saying that they would hit the ground running and come up with a master plan that the state would be proud of.
Other members of the Committee are: Commissioner of Finance and Economic Adviser to the Governor, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo; Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Tunji Odunlami; Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Ade Akinsanya; Commissioner for Rural Development, Mr. Taiwo Dotun; Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investments, Mrs. Kikelomo Alonge and the Special Adviser/ Director General, Bureau of Lands, Mr.Aina Salami.