GOVERNOR Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos State has backed down on plans for a widespread ban on the use of Okada motorcycle taxis and tricycles after a meeting with his security council where it was decided that the move would cause severe hardship.
On Monday this week, Governor Sanwoolu reeled out frightening statistics on the Okada and tricycles menace and promised to take definitive action against illegal operators of on restricted routes across the state. According to the government, 200 Okada accidents are recorded in the state on monthly basis and 150 people were killed in tricycles accidents over the last four years.
However, after a four-hour security council meeting chaired by the governor and attended by all commanders of security agencies in the state, it was decided not to introduce a blanket ban. Gbenga Omotoso, the Lagos State information commissioner, said the government’s delayed action was informed by the need to achieve a generally acceptable solution to the menace.
He disclosed that relevant parties and stakeholders had reached out to the government with suggestions and representation that could be adopted to proffer a win-win solution on the matter. According to the commissioner, the security council is currently considering the suggestions and recommendations submitted to the government before coming up with definite plans on the Okada menace.
Mr Omotoso said: “We have just concluded our routine security meeting, during which issue of Okada and tricycles was discussed exhaustively. For now, no major decision will be taken on the matter as there are several factors for this development but the main reason is to reckon with various opinions expressed by stakeholders.
“So many people have made representations to the government concerning commercial motorcycles and tricycles, including human rights groups, unionists and traders. They came up with many reasonable observations; all their views have been collated and are being considered.
“We feel it would not be good enough for the government to make final decision on the matter without considering the opinions of the stakeholders. That would be against the spirit of democracy for which the Sanwoolu administration stands.”
He added that the security of lives of Lagos residents and safety of visitors remained paramount to the government, stressing that the Sanwoolu administration would not compromise in this regard. According to the commissioner, the ongoing enforcement of the extant traffic laws and Okada restriction will go on pending the final decisions of the security council and advocacy was currently on-going to sensitise Okada and tricycles riders on the need to obey traffic laws.