Coalition of Civil Society Groups Back Sanwo-Olu on Clampdown on Commercial Motorcycles

Segun James

Following threats posed by activities of commercial motorcyclists to life and property in Lagos, the Defend Lagos Coalition (DLC), an amalgamation of civil society organisations has thrown its weight behind the state government’s ban on okada operations in parts of the state.

The DLC at a press conference in Lagos, addressed by the National Coordinator, Activists for Good Governance, Declan Ihekaire, said there was the “immediate need for a total clampdown on commercial motorcycles (Okada) operations,” in the state.

Ihekaire said: “We have come together today to ask Lagosians to join us in demanding from the Lagos State government a total clampdown on motorcycles (okada) as a means of transportation in every nook and cranny of the state.”

While urging Lagos residents to join in demanding from the government a total clampdown on motorcycles, he stated that a collective action, which required the input of all true Lagosians, was needed to eradicate the menace of okada in the state.

He applauded Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu for the bold step of announcing the ban on Okada operations in six local government council areas and LCDAs, adding that the Lagos, “governor has shown without any doubt that he is a dutiful servant of the people who is ever-ready to listen and carry out the people’s desires in line with his constitutional mandate.”

Ihekaire, who however, said, “Lagosians have, on a daily basis, experienced several threats to lives and property, flagrant disobedience of the laws of the land, by the ‘army’ of undocumented commercial motorcycle operators, who have laid siege Lagos State,” adding that, “the sense of insecurity convened by these dare-devil riders should not be allowed to continue.”

 He noted that the conference was called to address the very urgent and crucial issue that affects the collective existence of people living in Lagos State.

Lamenting that artisans and able-bodied Nigerian youths had abandoned their trained jobs to become emergency Okada riders, the group’s spokesman added that, “Youths are no longer interested in vocational training to earn a decent and enduring living; rather, they have taken to riding Okada to make “quick” money with the attendant risk to their lives.”

Ihekaire said the group as grassroots-based organisations had, “In the past couple of months, conducted independent surveys, which revealed that not only are majority of these motorcycle riders foreigners from countries, such as Republic of Chad, Niger Republic and other neighboring countries, we were also able to establish that they constitute a very potent risk to lives and properties of Lagosians. They must be stopped before it is too late.

“In the past few months, we have recorded cases of violent crimes and civil disturbances directly linked to the motorcycle operators, with some leading to the destruction of assets, loss of lives of innocent citizens and security agents.”

While reminding Sanwo-Olu of his constitutional obligation to protect the lives and properties of Lagosians, Ihekaire added that “Any form of action, which seeks to make this impossible, must be confronted, in the overall interest of the people.”

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