Lagos State Government has announced the immediate enforcement of restriction of “Okada” from plying highways, bridges and the 475 roads identified in Schedule II of the Road Traffic Law 2012.

The State Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju Elegushi made the announcement at a joint press briefing with the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde and the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni on the “Enforcement of Restriction of Okada and Tricycles on Lagos Roads” at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja.

Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi emphasised that the reinvigoration of the enforcement on the restriction should not been seen as a ban but rather as a Law that has been implemented over time and needs new impetus, saying that, “the new commitment is as a result of the recent surge in crime traced to the activities of some unscrupulous Okada Riders”.

He declared that the restriction on Okada has not been lifted as opined in some quarters, adding that the lull in enforcement was to facilitate engagement of stakeholders through enlightenment of the various groups of Okada riders on the need to abide by the rules guiding their operations especially during this festive period.

According to him, “the State will not tolerate Okada on restricted roads, highways and bridges; will not condone Okada driving against traffic especially those who ply their trade along Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway and Ojota – Ikorodu Town and those who use BRT restricted/reserve lane as well all those stated in Schedule II of State Traffic Law”.

Elegushi explained that in line with the present administration’s plan to build a Lagos that works for all, the Ministry of Transportation frequently holds discussions with Unions/Associations of Tricycle operators and Okada operators to ensure members abide by public safety.

While disclosing that a plan for joint enforcement involving State’s Traffic apparatus, such as the Police, Task Force and the Unions will be activated to ensure a robust enforcement, he urged military personnel and para-military organizations to also obey the Law.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde explained further that the planned full enforcement will be done in partnership with the Unions because the State government intends to implement the plan through persuasion, enlightenment and collective responsibility.

Ayorinde noted that the full weight of the Law will be brought to bear on those who fail to abide by the restriction order, while stressing that all residents in the State are expected to conduct their businesses within the ambit of the Law.

In his comment, the State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, represented by Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Mr. Imohimi Oluwole Edgal said the enforcement strategy is a tripartite one involving not just the Police but also Union members and other agencies of Lagos State.

He noted that past efforts will be built upon with a view to ensuring that the restriction is adhered to and criminals who disguise as operators are apprehended promptly.

The Commissioner of Police urged the Union to ensure that a safe distance is kept between their parks and financial institutions and banks to enable the Police effectively monitor the institutions during the festivals.

Mr.Owoseni also said that plans are afoot to curb the use of Okada by military men and police officers by engaging with their bosses, saying “the Law is no respecter of persons”.

In their remarks, the various associations of Okada operators in the State expressed their support for the joint enforcement in order to ensure compliance.

They therefore promised that their members will be adequately briefed on the plans of the Government even though they are not new initiatives.

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