If Only Lagos Govt Had Listened

Notes for File

Three weeks ago, this column drew the attention of the Lagos State Government to the menace of commercial motorcyclists, better known as Okada riders in the state and the need to urgently tame them. Unfortunately, the advice was not heeded. One of the consequences was the death of a young man, David Imoh, in the Lekki area a few days ago.

It was learnt that the victim, who was a sound engineer, was lynched and burnt to death after a misunderstanding ensued over the N100 balance with one of the commercial motorcyclists.

So bold have the Okada operators become that in September 2021, they also hacked to death a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Kazeem Abonde, in Ajao Estate, Isolo.

Captioned: “Lagos Playing Politics with Okada Riders,’ this column warned that the lawlessness and impunity of the riders in the state had gone overboard and called on the government to strongly enforce the law against them.

Many newspapers, through features, opinions and editorials, had also severally called the attention of the state government to menace of the commercial motorcyclists to no avail.

But following the killing of Imoh, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, last Wednesday banned the operations of commercial motorcyclists in six local government areas.

The six local governments listed by the governor are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa.

While many residents of the state believed that the directive of the governor was a clear case of “it’s too late to act when the head is off”, others believed that with the kind of government and law enforcement agencies  in the country, the governor’s directive was an empty pronouncement.

The latest ban was not the first time the state government would ban or restrict Okada riders. From Governor Babatunde Fashola, to Akinwunmi Ambode and the incumbent Sanwo-Olu’s administration, similar directives were issued many times but monitoring and implementations have always been a challenge.

It is hoped that the governor will take the matter seriously this time and personally monitor the situation himself before it becomes a mere opportunity for the police and taskforce to enrich their pockets.

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