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Okada/Keke Ban: Lagos Commuters, Operators Decry Govt’s Decision, Appeal For Reversal

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Okada/Keke Ban: Lagos Commuters, Operators Decry Govt Decision, Appeal For Reversal

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The Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had on January 27 banned the activities of commercial motorcycles (Okada) and Keke Napep (Photo Courtesy: Vanguard)

Commercial tricycle and motorcycle operators and commuters in Lagos on Monday appealed to the state government to reconsider the ban on tricycle “Keke” and “Okada” on major highways and bridges.

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Concise News reports that Lagos State Government on February 1 commenced enforcement of the extant Transport Sector Reform Law 2020 which banned operation of commercial motocycles and tricycles in some local goverments and local council development areas.

While there were peaceful marches in Surulere and Ikeja by tricycles owners and riders association over ban, there were also sporadic protests and bonfires in several areas, including Ijora and Ikeja parts of the state.

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Fracas broke out in Ijora in Apapa Local Government Area as tricycle and motorcycle operators clashed with policemen following the recent ban on their operations in the state.

The protesting operators made bonfires on major roads in various parts of the community as gun shots were heard while the protest lasted.

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Business activities were paralysed for several hours while people were seen scampering for safety.

Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bala Elkana, said that no life was lost in the Ijora protest, adding that normalcy had been restored to the affected areas.

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According to him, 24 suspects were arrested for blocking major roads in Ijora following the recent ban of okada and keke by the Lagos State Government.

Elkana said in a statement that the suspected hoodlums caused major obstructions on the roads, burning tyres, looting and stealing from unsuspecting road users.

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He said that the hoodlums, suspected to be Okada riders, came out in large numbers armed with cutlasses around Ijora Oloye, Amusu, Ijora 7up, Ijora under bridge, Sifa junction and Gaskiya gangare area all within Ijora Badia Division.

“Police officers from Ijora Badia, Area B Command and Special Strike Force on Social Miscreants were promptly deployed to the scenes.

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“The situation was brought under control. The obstructions were cleared for free flow of traffic.

“No life was lost. 24 suspects were arrested. Investigation is ongoing and the suspects will be charged to court,” Elkana said.

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Tricycle operators in Lagos Mainland, Yaba and Oyingbo also staged a peaceful protest at Maryland against the ban.

The operators urged the government to rescind its ban on commercial motorcycle and tricycle operators in 15 local government areas.

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Tayo Oshidele, the Vice Chairman of the association, told NAN that over 2000 members of the association would be affected as a result of the development.

Oshidele said that majority of the operators acquired the tricycles on hire purchase where the money were being remitted on a weekly basis.

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“This total ban of tricycle operations will affect over 2000 people within Surulere Local Government Area alone.

“Majority of our members acquire the tricycle on hire purchase from microfinance banks.

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“This recent action of government will create gross unemployment in the state, we therefore appeal to government to reverse its total ban for the sake of the members,” he said.

Many commuters who were stranded following the ban said that the decision had brought hardship because the state government did not provide alternatives or palliative measures.

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Mrs Bukola Adekoya, a banker, said she resumed work late due to non-availability of Keke.

“I reside at Opebi area and the only way to get to the bus stop is with Keke but since the ban, I have to walk several kilometers.

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“Due to this, I got to the office pretty late because it was a struggle at the bus stop to get any means of transportation.

“The government didn’t consider people who relied on this means of transportation because we are the ones that are affected by this ban,” she said.

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Miss Cynthia Okeke, who resides at Allen, said she also had to walk several kilometers to the office due to the ban.

“I’m so sad because I went through a whole lot before getting to the office today. I had to walk all the way to the Oregun because to the ban of Keke

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“When I got to the office, I was so dirty and messed up cause I was sweating profusely due to the heat and dust.

“The government should pity the poor masses before implementing such policies because this is so unfair,” she said.

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Shola Salami, who resides at Ikeja G.R.A, lamented the difficulty in navigating the area due to the ban.

“The main means of transportation in this area is the use of Keke so with the ban that has been placed, this area has become inaccessible.

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“People cannot navigate in and out of the area because there are no means to do that which is totally unfair and highly inconsiderate.

“The baffling thing about this whole episode is that concrete measures weren’t put in place to bridge the gap, so basically, everyone is suffering.

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“The government needs to come up with something else because this isn’t just working,” he said.

In a related development, commercial tricycle and motorcycle operators in areas not listed on the ban on Monday alleged that policemen were extorting money from them under the guise that they were plying on restricted highway.

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Theo Uchechukwu, an operator, divulged that policemen were harassing operators in some parts of Igando, Ikotun, Alimosho not listed as restricted areas.

”I didn’t see Alimosho on that list, but you know with this new law the policemen just have another opportunity to feed on.

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“If we are caught we don’t have any choice but than to pay, we like to benefit from other peoples pain in this country,” he said.

Ademola Adeniji, who plies the Igando to Ikotun route, disclosed that the state government had given police officers the legal backing to support extortion.

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“Before the ban we know what we are going through, we were happy initially because we didn’t see our LCDA there but as it is now, it’s like the ban cuts across all areas in Lagos State.

“Now the police are now so powerful that we can’t complain at all about the extortion now they are being backed by the law,” he said.

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. Okada/Keke Ban: Lagos Commuters, Operators Decry Govt’s Decision, Appeal For Reversal Follow Concise News.

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