Okada : ‘No longer at ease’ on Lagos roads
Government steps up campaign to enforce traffic law • Lawmakers laud Ambode over security equipment
THE honeymoon appears to be over for errant road users, particularly commercial bus drivers and motorcycle operators. At long last, the Lagos State government is proving doubters wrong that laws, especially the traffic law, can be enforced.
After a long lull, which pitched the state government against some traffic management agencies, worsening the transport and security situation of Lagos, stakeholders have all agreed to roll off their sleeves and enthrone the ‘rule of law’ on the highways.
They got the cue to action weeks back when a picture went viral of the governor apprehending a motorist who was driving against traffic in Ejigbo. With some leadership restructuring at the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) and recent reinforcement of the police force with security and surveillance gadgets, there may be an end to the ‘reign of impunity’ that had brought chaos to Lagos roads.
Sanity has since been restored on Ejigbo-Ajao Estate link bridge since police taskforce raided the area and rid it of Okada’s. Though the action was met with a stiff resistance, resulting in a gun battle between policemen and some rampaging hoodlums, which led to the burning of an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) stationed at the link bridge, it has ended the motorcyclists’ ‘reign of terror’ in that axis.
The Same treatment is expected at other nefarious areas where the unruly activities of commercial motorcyclists are causing severe pain and hardship to road users.
However, on many roads, it is business as usual as motorcycles operate unhindered from Oshodi to Iyana Ipaja. The ‘Fashola fear’ factor is ebbing away. The heavy penalty upon arrest is no longer a deterrent to the motley crowd of Okada riders, who ply the restricted routes at will.
Despite the recent arrest of 99 commercial motorcyclists and subsequent impounding of over 105 motorcycles for flouting the State Traffic Laws by the Joint Task Force Team, comprising operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the Lagos State Task Force Unit on Environment, there has been a resurgence of Okada riders in various parts of Lagos and its environs, especially on restricted routes.
There is also heightened anxiety over the upsurge of robberies involving motorcyclists. Head of the Joint Task Force, Mr. Olatunji Disu, confirmed this fear when he stated that preliminary investigations by the police have shown that robbery and other nefarious activities on the highways by men of the underworld are aided by the use of motorcycles.
In a related development, a cross section of Lagosians on Sunday commended the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, for equipping the Lagos Command of the Nigeria Police with modern security gadgets and repositioning the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) to effectively combat criminal activities.
In an interview with journalists, a lawmaker representing Agege Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Taofeek Adaranijo, described the development as a strong statement by the governor that the security of lives and property is of paramount importance to him.
“We have seen an upsurge in the wave of crime especially armed robbery in the state in the past few months, but with the procurement of modern security gadgets, the police will have no excuse than to go all out and ensure that Lagosians are safe from attack within the state. It’s no doubt a good development and beginning of good things to happy in Lagos under Governor Ambode”, Adaranijo said.
Another lawmaker representing Ifako Ijaiye Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr. Elijah Olu-Adewale, commended the governor, stressing that the equipment will go a long way in boosting the capacity of the police to swiftly respond to security threats in the state.
He urged the people to be vigilant and give necessary information that can assist the police track down criminal hideouts.