-Says restriction on Okada riders from plying bridges, major highways still in force
-Traffic offenders will face the maximum penalty, says Transport Commissioner
Following the flagrant violation of the traffic laws and other anomalies on the roads, Lagos State Government on Thursday read the riot act to motorcycle and tricycle operators, noting that the restriction on them from plying 10 major highways, 40 bridges and roads within six local governments and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in the State is still in force.
The State Government also expressed government’s displeasure at the disobedience to the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018 which restricts the operations of commercial motorcycles riders known as Okada and driving against traffic, known as one way driving.
Speaking during a press conference held at Alausa in Ikeja on traffic rules violation, Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the game is over for traffic offenders, especially the menace and impunity of commercial motorcycles and tricycles’ operators in the State.
The Commissioner said all commercial transport operators must carry out their daily activities within the approved routes in Lagos State, adding that any motorist caught driving against traffic will face the maximum penalty and will equally be charged to the court of law under the transport sector reform law of Lagos 2018.
He said: “Our Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has since his assumption of office prioritized his administration’s development agenda encapsulated as THEMES. The T stands for Traffic Management and Transportation. In the last one and a half years, Mr. Governor has demonstrated his affirmed commitment to our roads, reform complex junctions to promote better traffic flow, invested in water and land transportation through the provision of ferries and high capacity buses.
“In spite of all the efforts of Mr. Governor to reform our transport sector, it is therefore disheartening to note a lot of our people are still going against the extant law of the state on transport operation and safe driving on our roads and in our communities. The State Government prioritises the safety and security of the people. As a government, we cannot continue to watch this lawlessness develop into an uncontrollable situation.
“I say the game is over because in the last few months, we have witnessed a lot of security and safety challenges apparently as a result of the activities of unscrupulous ‘Okada riders.’ These operators do not only violate the provisions of the Transport Sector Reform Law of Lagos State, 2018 with respect to restriction of areas of operations, but perpetrate crime using their motorcycles.”
Oladeinde while stressing the need for sanity on the roads within Lagos, said the restriction of motorcycles on certain routes in Lagos State is still in force and failure to comply with the law will attract sanctions as stipulated in the Transport Sector Reform Law (TSRL) 2018, with penalties ranging from N20, 000 to three months imprisonment.
He said: “In line with this Administration’s plan to build Lagos that works for all, we are determined to continue to engage with the various transport unions and associations of tricycle and okada operator to ensure their members cooperate with us in the process of ensuring public safety by abiding with the TSRL 2018 at all time.
“With the upsurge in the number of commercial motorcycle operators, we shall intensify our enforcement strategy. This we intend to carry out along with the various transport union leaders. We will set up a joint enforcement team to ensure that our roads are sanitised from the menace of okada riders.
“We hereby direct all law enforcement agencies; Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), Taskforce and the Nigerian Police to immediately and continuously embark on enforcement on all restricted routes.”
The Commissioner also urged the media to do more by enlightening drivers on the danger of one way driving. “Obedience to the law was paramount if we must build a state of our dreams. We all have joint responsibilities to make the state work for all,” he said.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Transportation, Hon. Oluwatoyin Fayinka, implored all road users, especially commercial transport operators to be law abiding.
He urged transport unions to wake up and caution their members who flout traffic rules, saying the government had directed law enforcement agencies to clampdown on them.
The Deputy Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Sulyman Ojora, during the press conference assured Lagos State Government of the support and cooperation of the union in ensuring that traffic offenders are brought to book.
He also advised law enforcement agencies not to trouble the law abiding members of the union, saying that NURTW members are law abiding and they are fully ready to discipline any members whenever they violate any traffic laws.
Also speaking, the representative of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), Mr. Ayinde Runmokun said that most erring riders were alien to the union, saying that the union was concerned about flagrant disregard of law by some motorists and riders.
He also urged the government to carry the transport union along in the constitution of the task force for the enforcement of the law.