Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has read the riot act to commercial motorcycle operators popularly called Okada riders, commercial buses, street hawkers, and petroleum tanker drivers in the state, saying that the state government will no longer tolerate their nefarious activities on the streets and highways which has caused untold hardship for the people of the state in recent times.
Addressing Government House Correspondents shortly after an emergency Security Council Meeting which he chaired yesterday November 6th, Ambode said that it had become evident that traffic crimes and robbery are mostly as a result of the menace of Okada riders and street hawkers, while commercial buses have become lawless and reckless on the road. He said the Council made far reaching decisions at the meeting in line with the commitment of his administration to ensure security of lives and property as well as the enforcing of the Rule of Law.
He read the riot act to commercial motorcycle operators popularly called Okada riders, commercial buses, street hawkers, and petroleum tanker drivers in the state, saying that the state government will no longer tolerate their nefarious activities on the streets and highways which has caused untold hardship for the people of the state in recent times.
To this end, he said he has directed the full enforcement of the Lagos Road Traffic Laws, especially as it concerns the restriction of okada and tricycle operations. He reminded that Schedule II of the Lagos State Road Traffic Law 2012 restricts Okada, tricycle (Keke Marwa), carts and wheel barrows on some routes including Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Oworonshoki-Oshodi Expressway, Lagos-Ikorodu Expressway, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Third Mainland Bridge, Eti-Osa/Lekki –Epe Expressway, Lagos –Badagry Expressway, Funsho Williams Avenue, Agege Motor Road and Eti-Osa/Lekki Coastal Road.
“Any person who fails to comply with any of the provisions of this Section commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction as stipulated in the law. Henceforth, all commercial vehicles, except Bus Rapid Transport buses, must use only the service lanes in accordance with existing traffic laws. All conductors of Commercial buses must sit down in their buses and keep the doors closed at all times while in motion. It is against the Law for conductors to hang on the bus doors and leave the doors open. Any bus contravention will be met with severe punitive measures. Commercial buses can only drop and pick passengers at officially designated bus stops henceforth. Any illegal and indiscriminate picking and dropping of passengers is against the law. Other road users who break traffic laws will pay a compulsory traffic fine in accordance with the law. Mobile Traffic courts are being introduced to prosecute offenders promptly”.
Regarding the recurring Apapa gridlock, Ambode said the lawless activities of tank farm owners and their tanker drivers in the area will no longer be tolerated. He frowned at the fact that three months after meeting with tank farm and petrol tanker owners, they have been unable to come up with a solution to the gridlock caused by the tankers queuing up on roads and bridges to load petroleum products.
He however said that the state of affairs that has accentuated traffic gridlock in Apapa area and its environs is no longer tolerable to the State Government saying that necessary arrangements have been made with the relevant Regulatory Institutions to sanction defaulting port users – importers, tank farm owners, terminal operators and shipping companies. Governor Ambode said the Security Council decided that all tank farms be given a 90-day grace period to build loading bays for their tank farms, with a caveat that any tank farm that fails to provide a loading bay after the grace period, would be shut down by the state government.
“In addition, tank farms owners must desist from allocating pick-up papers to trucks beyond and above their daily capacity as is the case presently,” he said.
Ambode called on residents in the state to be extra vigilante duringthe remaining two months of the year
“The next hawker could be a robber or terrorist. You are now well-advised. If we all cooperate and decide not to buy, gradually and collectively, the hawkers will not come to the highways and streets anymore. Our roads will definitely become safer. Our security agencies have been directed to increase their presence on the roads and highways to ensure greater safety. Once again, I am committed to a safer, cleaner and more prosperous Lagos; a Lagos that works for all”, he said.