By Millicent Ifeanyichukwu
Lagos – Operators of commercial motorcycles popularly known as `Okada’ and tricycle called `Keke’ NAPEP on Saturday kept off the major highways in Lagos State following the ban placed on them.
They did so in compliance with an order of the Lagos State Government (LASG) that took effect from Saturday, Feb.1, 2020, banning them from plying the major highways and bridges.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that LASG had during a press briefing on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, announced the outright ban of motorcycles, and tricycles, the “Keke NAPEPs” in 15 local governments and local council development areas as well as some major highways and bridges in Lagos State.
Okada Park in Oshodi on Saturday
It said that the ban would affect the operations of all kinds of motorcycles and tricycles, including the operations of ride-hailing businesses such as Opay, Gokada and Max NG.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, during the news conference stated the LASG was “merely enforcing” existing transport laws in the state, notably the Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 (the “Law”).
He added that the LASG had consulted with stakeholders and the State Security Council before making this decision.
The commissioner said that the the operations of Okada and `Keke’ NAPEP had been banned in: Apapa LGA, Apapa Iganmu LCDA, Lagos Mainland LGA, Yaba LCDA, Surulere LGA, Itire-Ikate LCDA, and Coker-Aguda LCDA.
Others are: Ikeja LGA, Onigbongbo, LCDA, Ojodu LCDA, Eti-Osa LGA, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, and Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, Lagos Island LGA and Lagos Island East LCDA.
Omotoso also said that the operations of the Okada and `Keke’ NAPEP had been banned on the following highways and bridges:
Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Oworonshoki-Oshodi Expressway Lagos-Ikorodu Expressway and the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.
It also include: Eti-Osa/Lekki-Epe Expressway, the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Funsho Williams Avenue, Agege Notor Road and Eti-Osa Lekki Coastal Road.
He said that their operations had also been banned on Iyana –Ipaja Bridge, Agege, Dopemu Bridge, Agege, Airport/Ikeja Bridge, Agege Motor Road/Oshodi Loop, Oshodi and Mushin/Isolo Link Bridge, Dorman Long Bridge, Ojuelegba Bridge.
Also affected by the order are: National Stadium Flyover,Apapa-Iganmu Bridge, Apapa-Ijora Link Bridge, Liverpool Bridge, Apapa, Mile 2 Bridge-Loop, Amuwo-Odofin, Okota (cele)/Ijesha Link Bridge, Apakun/Apapa, Apapa-Oshodi Bridge Network, and Ikorodu Road /Anthony Clover leaf Bridge.
They had also been banned from plying Trade Fair Flyover Bridge, Festac/Amuwo-Odofin Link Bridge, Flyover Bridges along Alhaji Masha Road, Ojota Clover leaf Bridge, Ogudu Bridge, 3rd Mainland Bridge, Maryland flyover and Ikeja General Hospital Flyover Bridge.
Also affected are: Kodesoh Bridge, Oba Akran, Ikeja, Opebi Link Bridge, Sheraton-Opebi Bridge, Jibowu /Yaba Flyover Bridge, Carter Bridge, Lagos, Bariga-Ifako Bridge.
They also include:Apapa/Oshodi Alapere Bridge Bariga/Oworonsoki Bridge, Apapa –Oshodi Expressway/Gbagada U-Turn, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway,34. 3rd Mainland/Oworonsoki Bridge, Eko Bridge,Apongbon flyover Bridge, Cowry Bridge (Officers Mess), Mcwen Bridge (Bonny Camp), Marina/Ikoyi Bridge and Ikoyi/Obalende Bridge.
A correspondent of NAN who went visited some areas in Lagos observed that operators of both `Keke’ NAPEP and Okada were absent at Costain Bus stop, 7Up/Motorways Park, Ojota Bus stop, and the popular Oshodi Bus stop.
Also, NAN also observed that Okada riders did not ply the major highways such as the Funsho Williams, Avenue, the Lagos –Abeokuta Expressway, and the Agege Motor Road.
This was against the usual practice when the restriction had not become effective.
Ehis Odion, a private company staffer member, told NAN that he was fond of patronising Okada very well.
He said that it used to hasten his movements to his work place in Apapa.
Odion said that he was aware of the ban but did not take it serious, only for him to get to Oshodi Bus stop on Saturday morning and noticed that the Okada Park there had been deserted.
“I have been standing here for over one hour and running late to my office in Apapa, not even a single bike here unlike before. In short, I am not happy with the order,” he said.
Another rider, Bilikisu Abegunde, said that it was a welcome development saying that the order would help to minimise the high rate of accidents and deaths caused by Okada.
Abegunde also said that the ban had compelled her to walk a distance before she could board a commercial bus to her location in Yaba, from Oshodi.
“To me, the ban is good because a lot of people had lost their lives in the past by involving in Okada accident; the bad side of it is that I have to stress myself by jumping from one bus to another,” she said.
Also, Ahmed Balogun, a commercial bus driver at Oshodi, applauded the Lagos State Government for placing a ban on Okada and `Keke’ NAPEP from plying major highways and bridges in Lagos.
He also commended the Lagos State Task force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences(Task Force) for their presence in major bus stops to enforce compliance by the operators of Okada and `Keke’ NAPEP in the state.
Balogun said that the ban had made Oshodi to wear a new look as the Okada riders had complied with the ban and potential passengers had to switch over to boarding commercial buses.
“I praise Gov. Sanwo-Olu for banning Okada, especially, on our major roads and implementing it through the Task Force personnel.
“It has restored sanity to our roads from the ubiquitous Okada and `Keke’ NAPEP riders recklessness on our roads.
“This order will make commercial driving flourishing now than before because more passengers will now be boarding commercial buses since commercial motorcycles will no longer be operating.
“ Oshodi Park is now devoid of congestion normally caused by Okada and `Keke’ NAPEP riders and people are walking without fear, ” he added.
However, a passenger who simply identified himself as Pascal said that the ban of Okada and `Keke’ NAPEP might either lead to an increase in hawking or armed robbery in Lagos with time.
He said that most riders were the breadwinners of their respective families and they have dependants to take care for.
He said that they would have been doing that from what they used to realise from their services as riders in the past.
Pascal said that he was at a loss as to how riders affected by this new order would cope with the needs of their families.
NAN correspondent observed that the Lagos State Task Force officers parked their vehicles at strategic locations within the metropolis such as Iyana-Ipaja, Ile Zik, Ikeja and Oshodi Bus stops on Saturday to monitor and ensure compliance.