By AISHA COLE
LAGOS- Commuters on Wednesday commended the Lagos State Government for implementing the ban on motorcycles, popularly known as ‘’Okada’’ on the highways and some local governments in the state.
Some of the commuters and residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews, appreciated the state government for banning okada operations after many attempts in the past.
NAN reports that in the second day of the ban, commercial motorcycle riders in the Ojodu Berger, Lagos Island, Apapa, Ijora, Ogba, Isolo, Surulere, Mushi, were visibly absent on these roads.
Police were stationed in areas such as Mushin and Ikorodu, among others, where the motorcycles are the major means of transportation.
Commuters, who spoke with NAN in these restricted areas, thanked the government for the effort but were however worried that the rate of crime would be increased in the state due to the loss of their means of livelihood.
Mr John Adewale, a banker who resides in Ikorodu and works in the Lagos Island, said the ban on Okada was a welcome development.
Adewale said that it would reduce the rate of crime in his areas but the ban would make it difficult for workers to have easy access to the bus stop from where they could continue their movement to their various offices and businesses.
The banker urged the state government to extend the shuttle buses known as First and Last Mile, so residents in Ikorodu area would find it easy get to the bus stop to get transportation.
A security agent at Anthony area of Lagos State, Mr Steven Ude also said the ban would increase miscreants and crime rate would be high.
“Most of the Okada riders are saving nothing less than N5, 000 daily, and they have abandoned their menial jobs as artisans for Okada.
“For us to leave in peace in Lagos, government should provide alternative means of livelihood for the okada riders,”Adewale said.
A public servant, Mr Anthony Opara also welcomed the development, urging government to maintain the order and not reverse it.
“Motorcycles are operating in some states as well, but they have abused their operations in Lagos because they usually block major roads with their motorcycles obstructing vehicular movement.
“If you correct the motorcyclists, they will say President Muhammadu Buhari is their brother. Is Buhari not our brother too? There should be law and order in the state.’’
A graphic designer in Mushin, Mrs Sulian Aremu said her daughter could not go to school because she usually engaged okada to take her to and from school – Monday to Friday.
Aremu pleaded with the government to extent the local shuttle buses – First and Last Mile, to many remote areas in the state for easy accessibility to the nearest bus stops.
A businessman, Mr Felix Azubike, commended the state government for taking a bold step in banning motorcyclists operations in Lagos, saying that Okada riders had accidentally killed his sibling.
Azubike said the banning would stop accidents caused by careless okada riders and would reduce accidents on the highways.
He said that most of the riders usually engaged in criminal activities in the early hours of the day and urged government to find other means of livelihood for them to reduce robbery in the environment.
A freight forwarder, Mr Cyril Chuks said he trekked from Boma road to Chicken Republic as a result of the ban on motorcycles.
He said that he had to trek from his office in Apapa to Tin Can Island Port, and pleaded with the government to also provide First and Last Mile shuttle buses in Apapa area to ease movement of processing documents. (NAN)