Okada ban: Commuters stranded as Okada, tricycle riders desert Lagos roads

Okada riders
Okada riders stayed away from roads

Major roads and highways in Lagos State were deserted by okada and tricycle riders on Saturday as the ban on them from plying certain routes in the metropolis takes effect.

But several commuters have to pay the price as many were seen trekking long distance as there were no okada riders to take them to their destinations.

The Lagos State Government had last Monday banned okada and tricycle riders in 15 councils, major highways and all bridges across the State, with effect from 1 February.

Deserted street in CMS without okadas, tricycles

There was massive compliance by okada and tricycle riders to the ban as they stayed away to avoid being arrested by the police and their motorcycles seized.

At CMS bus stop, everywhere was cleared as there was no okada or tricycle rider on sight as commuters who could not get vehicles on time resorted to trekking.

Passengers in areas such as 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.

There were few security patrols in some of the highways and major roads that were outlined by the Lagos State Government as restriction for Okada and Keke. Just a handful of Okada and Keke were seen on the roads trying to maneuver their way from the eyes of the Lagos State Task Force.

In Ikeja, okada riders and tricycles obeyed the ban except for some few adventurous ones who were out to make brisk money.

At the Old Abeokuta Road, several people were seen trekking down to Abattoir as there were no okadas and tricycles to convey them to their destination.

Commuters have lamented the ban and the pains they have to go through to get to their destination.

According to Lola Okunrin, “Now that Gokada, Max Okada and Oride are banned, hope you know it’s not just the cyclist that will lose his job. The secretary in Gokada office, the HR, the trainers, the managers, the cleaner, the gateman, the app manager, the developer and so on. It’s a long term menace.”

Deserted street in CMS without okadas, tricycles

An okada user on twitter simply said: “Lagos state government did not provide ONE BUS. They just banned Okada and keke and said, yall go fuck yourselves. In 2023, you people will go out like sheep and vote for them and say, “Jimi Agbaje is not talking” Take your city back from these bastards.”

According to Young Ichu, “I came out of the house this morning only to notice the streets of Lagos Island was clear without a sight of Okada or Keke. After Trekking for 35 mins to Obalende, I got a bus to Yaba. Now I can’t even start the project because of fatigue. Nigerians are suffering on the street of Lagos.”
In his response, Olusoga Owoeye said “many Nigerians have absorbed the culture of now-now and it is dangerous, each time I ask an Okada man what he will be doing at 65, they go blank! How do you immerse your youthful energy in a job that won’t build your old age. We don’t have plumbers anymore.”
However, The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) said the compliance of commercial motorcycle (Okada) and Tricycle (Keke) operators to the ban and restriction in the state was “pretty good”.

The LASTMA’s General Manager, Mr Olajide Oduyoye, said on Saturday that there would not be fight or argument with any operator who willingly complied with the law.

He said that officers of the authority were on ground for the enforcement of the extant law on Okada and Keke operations from today (Feb 1).

“The compliance is pretty good for the first day. We hope to see that a lot will comply more and more. Operators must keep doing what the law says. There is no problem; once there is compliance, there is no need for any enforcement. There is no need for any fight or any incident on the road. It is just for the people to just comply and that is it,” Oduyoye said.

The LASTMA boss said the enforcement was to control the unrestrained behaviour and recklessness of the operators in the state which contributed to the traffic bottlenecks in the state.

The traffic manager explained that the operations of tricycle and motorcycle riders had also been creating traffic bottlenecks and chaos in the state and accused them of regularly riding against traffic.

“The difficulty we always have is this Keke and Okada riding against traffic and causing a lot of traffic chaos.

“When a minor accident happens with Keke scratching a vehicle and there is an argument, it disrupts the traffic flow. That made our jobs a lot more difficult. So, now that they are going to be off the major highways, our work will be much easier. The motorists creating traffic chaos will not have Keke or Okada to blame again

“LASTMA officers are up to the task. We are going to do our job as diligently as we are supposed to,’’ Oduyoye said.

Shitta Bus Stop

According to him, “we will operate where we are supposed to operate and work to make sure that traffic is flowing as much as possible.

“We expect that since so many junctions and corners will be free of Keke and Okada parks and loitering; when enforcement comes up, there will be better traffic flow in Lagos State from today,” Oduyoye added.

According into him, if the operators had stayed within the ambit of the law and operate within the law, there won’t be problem as a lot of people still rely on them.

“We can see their apprehension and likely pain; but I blame the operators for misbehaving in such a way that their operations become security and safety issues.

“No responsible government will sit back and allow this to grow and to grow out of hand; which is exactly what is happening,” he added.