Okada accidents rise by 34%
• Restriction still enforceable, says Opeifa
THE road safety success that was recorded by the Lagos Traffic Law 2012 and its implementation are currently under severe threats. Specifically, commercial motorcyclists, popularly called Okada riders have returned to some of the prohibited routes, thereby swelling the rate of okada-related accidents by 34 per cent.
State Commissioner for Transportation, Kayode Opeifa, confirmed this surge, which he described as regrettable. Speaking at the 2015 Ministerial Press Briefing on Tuesday, Opeifa said they had started noticing the increase since January 2015, both in reported death cases and injuries.
According to him, there is no denying the fact that injuries in okada-related accidents have increased by 34 per cent when compared with records of the fourth quarter of 2014. “Record of first quarter of 2015 is our lowest ever,” he said.
He observed that in the last six years, the state government was able to reduce deaths from 192 to six per year. They have saved about 456 lives since October 2012 to date.
“The increase in the last few month is largely due to the resurgence of Okada as public transportation on our roads with impunity, most especially in the following local areas: Ikeja, Isolo, Apapa, Agege, Epe, Ijede, Shomolu/Bariga, Ifako-Ijaye/ Ojokoro, Ikorodu, Mushin, Badagry, Lagos Mainland, Ojodu, Ketu and Ojota.” Responding to claims that the Traffic law was relaxed for election purpose, Opeifa said the state government had not changed its position on traffic laws.
According to him, “We have not changed our position before, during or after the election. It is the media that are creating such perception about our position on traffic law.
The police are part of the enforcement team and they can be encouraged to do more of enforcement of the laws.”
He reiterated that the public transportation system, when fully operational, envisage only vehicles with minimum capacity of 27 will be allowed for buses while mile to mile will be by taxis.
By implementation, Okada and Maruwa also known as Keke NAPEP are not part of our public transport policy but are allowed as stipulated by the Road Traffic Law 2012 Section. The commissioner, who implored Okada operators to stay on the road allocated to them, urged the police to enforce the law, which includes restricted routes, use of protective helmets, non-carriage of more than one passenger, non-carriage of school-age children and obedience to all traffic rules.
Reiterating that Okada operators are not banned but restricted in the state, the commissioner said this policy is based on the understanding that Okada and Tricycle are not safe, efficient, reliable and sustainable but for socio economic reasons, they are allowed, restricted and not banned but must operates according to law.
He said: “Members of the public are to cooperate as both passengers and riders will henceforth be prosecuted, same to tricycle operators without plate numbers, driving against traffic, loading and off loading on streets/roadways and creating parks, branches and units at will.
These unlawful attitudes will no longer be tolerated.” On the state’s lite rail project, the commissioner said the Blue line from Mile 2 to Eric Moore, which covers about 27km was almost completed and will commence test-running this year.
According to him, when operational, the project will move a high number of passengers in the state, while the extension project from Eric Moore to Marina, when completed will link the rail with water and road at CMS, which will serve as the state’s first rail, water and road intermodal integration.