The Lagos State Government yesterday wielded the big stick against the menace of commercial motorcycles (Okada) and tricycles (Keke NAPEP), proscribing their operations in six Local Government Areas (LGAs), nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) and 10 major highways across the State with effect from February 1.
The state government directed security operatives to embark on a total enforcement of the State's Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and disorderliness created by illegal operations of Okada and tricycle riders in restricted areas.
The state government also banned Okada and tricycles from plying 40 bridges and flyovers across the State.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, who made the announcement at the State House in Alausa, said the measures were taken by the government in response to "scary figures" of fatal accidents recorded from operations of Okada and tricycles in the state between 2016 and 2019.
Omotoso said the lack of regard for the Lagos Traffic Laws by the Okada and tricycle riders had resulted in preventable loss of lives, adding that their impermissible movements on restricted highways had also contributed to traffic jams.
He said: "After a robust assessment of the debate on what has been widely referred to as the motorcycle (Okada) and tricycle (Keke) menace, the Lagos State Government and the State Security Council have decided that the security and safety of lives of Lagosians are paramount.
"The figures are scary. From 2016 to 2019, there were over 10,000 accidents recorded at the General Hospitals alone. This number excludes unreported cases and those recorded by other hospitals. The total number of deaths from reported cases is over 600 as at date.
"Also, the rate of crimes aided by Okada and Keke keeps rising. They are also used as getaway means by criminals. Therefore, after consultations with stakeholders, the State Security Council, in compliance with the extant Transport Sector Reform Law 2018, has decided to commence enforcement of the law which bans the operation of Okada and Keke in six Local Government Areas and nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs)."
Omotoso said the enforcement would be total, warning that the government would deal with violators in accordance with the Laws. He added that there would be zero tolerance for the movement of the banned vehicles on the listed highways and bridges.
According to the commissioner, operations of Okada and Keke NAPEP have been banned in the following LGAs and LCDAs: Apapa LGA, Apapa Iganmu LCDA, Lagos Mainland LGA, Yaba LCDA, Surulere LGA, Itire-Ikate LCDA, and Coker-Aguda LCDA.
Others are Ikeja LGA, Onigbongbo, LCDA, Ojodu LCDA, Eti-Osa LGA, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, and Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, Lagos Island LGA and Lagos Island East LCDA.