Ambode Goes Tough on Okada, Danfo, Street Hawkers, Others
Gives Apapa tank farms 90-day ultimatum
WORRIED by the persistent gridlock and attendant in-traffic robbery attacks in the metropolis, the Lagos State government yesterday declared full enforcement of the State Road Traffic Law 2012, which highly restricts activities of commercial bus drivers, motorcyclists and street hawkers, among others.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode while reading the riot act yesterday said it had become evident that the gridlocks, traffic crimes and robbery are easily traced to the menace of commercial motorcycle riders (Okada), street hawkers and reckless commercial buses, popularly called Danfo.
To this effect, he said all persons are henceforth prohibited from riding a motorcycle, tricycle or push cart or wheelbarrow on expressways like Lagos – Ibadan; Apapa – Oshodi; Oworonshoki – Oshodi; Lagos – Ikorodu; Lagos – Abeokuta and Third Mainland Bridge. Other such routes are Eti–Osa/Lekki – Epe Expressway; Lagos – Badagry Expressway; Funsho Williams Avenue; Agege Motor Road and Eti-Osa/Lekki Coastal Road.
Ambode also declared that henceforth, all commercial vehicles, except Bus Rapid Transport buses, must use only the service lanes in accordance with existing traffic laws.
“All conductors of commercial buses must sit down in their buses and keep the doors closed at all times while in motion. It is against the Law for conductors to hang on the bus doors and leave the doors open. Any bus contravention will be met with severe punitive measures,” he said.
The governor, rising from a State Security Council Meeting yesterday said that the commercial motorcycles remain only a stop-gap remedy in the State government’s plans to actualize other modes of transportation.
He said in addition to Okadas being used for crime, commercial buses are a menace on Lagos roads and are becoming very lawless and reckless. Many road users, especially those who should know better, seem to have also joined them in breaking traffic laws, he said.
According to him, “This government is totally committed to the security of lives and property as well as enforcing the Rule of Law. We will not allow a few notorious elements in our midst to cause a breakdown in law and order and upset the peace that we are used to in the State. To curtail these challenges, we have decided on the full enforcement of the Lagos State Traffic Laws.”
He reiterated that commercial buses could only drop and pick passengers at officially designated bus stops henceforth. Any illegal and indiscriminate picking and dropping of passengers is against the law and punishable.
Other road users who break traffic laws, Ambode said, will pay a compulsory traffic fine in accordance with the law, adding that Mobile Traffic courts are being introduced to prosecute offenders promptly.
On the traffic situation, especially in the Apapa axis, Ambode noted that the Tank farms and the petrol tankers are the major cause of traffic. “Based on this, the Security Council has decided that all Tank Farms are hereby given a 90-day grace period to build loading bays for their tank farms. Any Tank Farm that fails to provide a loading Bay after this grace period, would be shut down by the State government. In addition, tank farms owners must desist from allocating pick-up papers to trucks beyond and above their daily capacity as is the case presently.”
Ambode urged all residents to desist from the habit of patronising street-hawkers. “Nobody should patronize street hawkers in traffic henceforth. The next hawker could be a robber or terrorist. If we all co-operate and decide not to buy, gradually and collectively, the hawkers will not come to the highways and streets anymore. Our roads will definitely become safer,” Ambode said.
State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said that the directives had only rejigged their efforts on law enforcement, as he appealed that all residents should take heed.
Chairmen of various transport unions in the state, among other stakeholders that were with the governor during the address, all expressed readiness to comply with the laws.