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Police begin enforcement of tricycle, okada ban in Lagos

Residents caution overzealous officers, commuters stranded, 40 alleged violators arrested

Following the decision of the Lagos State government to restrict motorcycles and tricycles popularly known as Okada and Keke Marwa respectively from plying major highways and some roads in 15 local councils of the state, residents have lamented the ‘overzealousness’ of police operatives in carrying out the ban in areas not mentioned by the government.

The Guardian gathered that in areas such as Ajegunle, which was not listed in the restriction, Okada riders were being arrested and their bikes seized by policemen. A commuter in the Ajegunle axis, simply known as Ashimolowo, urged the state government to caution the police to allow free flow of movement.

“Can someone please tell the police divisions in Ajegunle that Okada and Keke Marwa are not banned in Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA and Ifelodun LCDA? They are just constituting a nuisance. I have also received calls that this scenario is playing out in other places where the ban was not included. The zeal at which these officers are carrying out this enforcement is scary. I guess it is a blank check presented to them by Governor Sanwo-Olu,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state’s police command yesterday hinted that it has impounded 188 motorcycles, 78 tricycles and arrested 40 violators since Saturday that the ban came into enforcement. In a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Bala Elkana, the Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, had on February 1, deployed Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers, State Traffic Officers, Area Traffic Officers, Divisional Traffic Officers, Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences and other police officers across the state to fully enforce the provisions of the Road Traffic Laws, especially the recent ban by the state government.

He stated the CP personally arrested some motorcycle and tricycle operators seen contravening the traffic laws, and others arrested by the CP were VIP escort vehicles without registration numbers, vehicles with defaced and covered plate numbers and vehicles driving against traffic.

It has been observed that commercial bus drivers have taken advantage of the ban and inflated transport fare for commuters. While some passengers refused to board, others boarded grudgingly with many others resorting to trekking long distances. At Costain roundabout, the “area boys” that use to extort money from Keke and Okada riders were seen idling around and taking alcohol to control their frustration.

It was observed at the weekend that major roads and highways were deserted by okada and tricycle riders following the ban. There was massive compliance to the ban as operators stayed away to avoid being arrested by the police. At CMS bus stop, everywhere was cleared as there was no okada or tricycle on sight while commuters who could not get vehicles on time resorted to trekking.

Passengers in areas such as Ikeja, Lawanson, Shitta, Ijesha, Cele Bus stop, Ojuelegba, Mushin, and Iyana-Isolo were left stranded at bus stops while some decided to take the long walk down to their destination.

Following the development, the Lagos Bus Services Limited has disclosed ban to expand its operations from today to cover more routes. The operator through its twitter handle, @lbslng, said the routes include Oshodi to Ajah, CMS-Ajah, Obalende to Ajah, Inner Marina to  Ajah, Berger to Ogba, Ikeja to Ogba, Ikeja to Ojota. It noted that more capacity would be improved on its routes going forward.

Also, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will on Tuesday launch Lagos Ferry Services, (LAGFERRY) commercial operations with the commissioning of 14 ferry boats for public transportation on Lagos waterways. Of the 14 boats, eight are new ones with the waterways transportation expected to commute 480,000 passengers daily.

The governor will also launch a LAGFERRY operations app to operate a schedule water transportation services with online/offline ticket bookings. Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of LAGFERRY, Ladi Balogun, disclosed this at a press briefing on the commercial launch of operations of LAGFERRY, which held at Bagauda Kaltho Press Center, Alausa, Ikeja at the weekend.

Balogun said the launch is a huge step forward in the integration of multi-modal transportation in the state, a process, which has been on since 1999, and that technology will play a big role in the integration.

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