Lagos Goes Tough On Okada Operators, Street Traders

The Lagos State government at the weekend said it would henceforth strictly enforce the extant laws in the state especially those bordering on environmental offences and restriction of operation of commercial motorcycles, popularly called Okada, in certain routes as well as street trading.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who stated this after the monthly Security Council Meeting involved heads of all security agencies in the state, urged residents to willfully comply with the extant laws in the state to make the enforcement of the law easier.

The government had, during the former Governor Babatunde Fashola, passed a bye-law restricting okada operation and street trading, which had been partially enforced till date.

Mr. Fatai Owoseni, the State Commissioner of Police, who spoke on the outcome of the meeting, urged the public to desist from patronising traders where street trading is not allowed.

Owoseni also counselled Lagosians to stop patronising commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada operators on routes where the law restricts them from plying.

Owoseni, who spoke alongside heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force and other security agencies in state, said: “The Council appraised the security situation in the state and looked at the challenges we are still having and from discussions and conclusions that were made, the Council agreed that lot of progress had been made.

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“We have covered lot of miles regarding security and safety in the state. For now, the state is relatively peaceful.

“We want to sustain that tempo; we want to improve on that tempo. We have looked at those areas we need to improve upon and basically those were the issues the Council considered.”

On Governor Ambode’s directive by at the Town Hall Meeting in Ikorodu last week that Okada should not ply Mile 12-Ikorodu route, Owoseni said: “Yes, we deliberated on that and I can tell you that we specifically considered the need to improve on enforcement of the laws of the state, especially the areas where we have been having challenges with members of the public with regard to enforcement.

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“Specifically, I’m talking about the street trading, the restriction of commercial motorcyclists to certain areas. You see, there is need to have the buy-in of members of the public in all these and the Council considered the need for us to still tell the citizens that in as much as we want to enforce, there is also need for members of the public to willfully comply with extant laws of the state.

“When they comply and conform to the laws, it will be easier for security agencies to enforce. Where the law says there should not be street trading, people should not patronise street traders; where the law says Okada should not ply certain routes, people should not patronize commercial motorcyclists in those areas.

“But most importantly, as the Security Council has always emphasised, there is need for everyone to be security conscious and raise awareness about security in their surroundings,” Owoseni said.