Article

Rough Riding: Okada operators stage another protest in Mushin against new traffic law

by Isi Esene

The enforcement of the new Lagos Traffic Law has continued to generate protests. Motorcycle operators, popularly called ‘Okada’, came out in their numbers in the Mushin area of Lagos on Monday singing solidarity songs in protest against the activities of the police and traffic management agencies in the state over the enforcement of the new traffic law.

Commercial motorcycle operators in the state have complained of harassment and extortion by policemen and LASTMA officials who are allegedly exploiting the situation to extort money.

Some operators told newsmen that the partial ban on the use of motorcycles on major Lagos highways will only serve to deprive them of their daily means of livelihood saying they do not have an alternative.

The Lagos State government, however, maintain that the new traffic law was not introduced to witch-hunt anyone or phase out the okada operators but to ensure the safety of road-users on Lagos highways.

A similar protest happened on October 6 when several okada riders gathered at the  popular Awolowo road in Ikeja and marched to the seat of government at Alausa.

From Balogun bus stop down the Alausa stretch of the road was occupied by the resolute riders who said they were out to protest the traffic law enacted in July especially the section that restricts their operation on 475 roads across the state.

Residents of the state who cannot do without the services of these okadas  are complaining of the difficulties they have had to face due to the enactment of this law.

A commuter, Chinedu Chukwura, who spoke to YNaija on the issue said he now has to resort to the use of buses to journey from his base in Surulere to his office in Apapa which makes the journey slower and more stressful.

He said, “I really don’t understand what the government his doing, is there no other way to go about the implementation of the law? A journey that normally takes me 10 minutes on okada now takes me hours.”

With protests springing up in the state in opposition to the okada ban, the Lagos State government needs to come up with a more humane way of enforcing these laws.

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Comments (2)

  1. With protests springing up in the state in opposition to the okada ban, the Lagos State government needs to come up with a more humane way of enforcing these laws. Strange conclusions.

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