The Lagos State Task Force has said that its officers would clamp down on recalcitrant commercial motorcyclists, popularly known as Okada riders, plying restricted routes in the state as well as those flouting traffic laws.
The agency’s spokesperson, Abdulraheem Gbadeyan, said in a statement Thursday that its officers arrested 84 commercial motorcyclists at the Costain/Iponri axis of the state.
Mr Gbadeyan quoted Shola Jejeloye, the head of the task force, as saying that no stone would be left unturned until all “okada” riders follow the line of best practices and ensure that sanity is entrenched in the system.
“Driving on the state highways is prohibited to Okada below 200cc engine capacity,” said Mr Jejeloye, a chief superintendent of police .
“However, you see a lot of them plying these routes with total disregard for the law.
“We will keep impounding their okada and vehicles driving against traffic till they learn to obey traffic laws of the state,” the chairman said.
The task force said it has, in collaboration with Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (KAI), embarked on an extensive exercise to clear the driveways in the state.
Mr Gbadeyan said the exercise would prevent indiscriminate disposal of waste by market men and women.
Mr Gbadeyan said the exercise would also reduce man hours spent on the roads as a result of traffic congestion caused by their activities.
He said the clearing up exercise at Mushin/Olosha, which was spearheaded by Mr Jejeloye, lasted for about three hours.
“The exercise was thorough and effective in order to prevent the return of the traders to the same spot after completion.”
He said the chairman explained that the exercise was necessary and inevitable.
According to him, residents of Lagos State have thrown in series of complaints through various channels, asking the state government to come to their aid to put a stop to the selfish actions of roadside traders which had become a norm in that axis.
Mr Gbadeyan quoted the chairman to have said “Mushin/Olosha axis has been known for this practice for quite a while even before the completion of the road leading to Oshodi.
“We have appealed to traders to desist from displaying their goods on the road side and on the walkways but it has fallen on deaf ears, hence the need to clear them out forcefully.
“Vehicles will now ply freely from Mushin to Oshodi unhindered while the operation will put a total stop to indiscriminate disposal of waste on the roads and gutters.
“The exercise will be a continuous one as officials of both agencies will continually monitor the major highways and inner roads to prevent a return of traders to the roadside,’’ he said.
According to him it will be continuous and also extends to other parts of the state.
“The traffic caused due to the partial closure of the roads by these traders creates serious backlogs to adjoining roads and also gives room for traffic robbery.
“We won’t condone this economic waste anymore. Any one that wants to display his/her wares or sell goods should move into the main market complex or he risks being arrested,’’ he warned.
In a similar development, the spokesperson said the Lagos State Task Force had demolished shanties and removed canoe monuments which served as hideouts for suspected criminals.
He said the agency got series of complaints from innocent members of the public.
“The exercise was carried out in order to rid the state of criminal elements who rob commuters in traffic at Ikeja along down to Ile-Zik and its environs”.
Mr Gbadeyan said commuters who constantly ply the axis claimed that suspected traffic robbers, after carrying out their illegal acts, usually run into the canoe monument to avoid being caught by the long arm of the law.
According to him, other supposed safe havens for criminals were also demolished along the axis.
“Meanwhile, the agency in her bid to stop the ugly incidents of robbery, arson, and illegal activities in the state had arrested over 12,429 suspects in 2021, out of which 11,412 were charged to court.
“A total number of 10,959 were eventually convicted and fined for various offences while 166 of them were cautioned and discharged.”
Mr Gbadeyan said Mr Jejeloye admonished members of the public that the fight against making Lagos great again was not only for the agency alone but for all Lagos residents.
“All hands must be on deck to fish out criminal elements amongst us and report any case of criminal activities around us,’’ Mr Gbadeyan said.